Monday, March 22, 2010

Science Project Challenge

Thermometers vary in shape and size. We have selected to use digital thermometers to test water temperatures and the speed at which they become “room temperature.” Our objective was to help the students become more familiar with how thermometers are used and temperatures of objects around them.

The activity we chose to do with our students was to use two cups full of water at different temperatures while measuring how easily the thermometer changed when switching it back and forth.

We would transfer it between the two cups and had the goal of creating designs with the recorded data.

The cold cup obviously made the line fall, while the hot water made the line rise. This was very fun for the students to try such things like writing their name with the temperature gauge.

Using digital thermometers as opposed to standard thermometers is an effective choice because as we all know students love computers. This creates a fun environment because they can be moving around and interacting with the results, and manipulating them in a way that generates fun activity. It also stimulates the brain in a different way so that the students can think of temperature in a visual format, instead of just numbers written on a scale. They were able to create images and designs based solely off of the results they garnered while performing this particular science project. These types of learning would have been missed if the activity had involved simple thermometers.

If the student is under the impression that an activity will be ‘fun’ they are far more likely to be more engaged and give it the full attention the activity deserves.

The use of digital thermometers enhanced the quality of learning for the students because it is a visual description of the results they would obtain with a regular thermometer. Another great thing was that the results were very precise, which made graphing and other calculations much easier.