Elementary Chemistry and Physics

Some aren’t getting my emails. So, here’s what I emailed everyone for this week.



Begin the Thermal Energy chapter.

Science Fair –  Date: April 5
This week in class, we will begin discussing the scientific method: Question, Hypothesis, Procedure, Data, Conclusion.
Please read over the first part, “Question” with your child (see below). I want to make sure they really understand this concept as they develop a project for the science fair. For those who have already decided a topic, please come to class ready to share your “Question.” For those who haven’t decided a topic, this guidance in developing a question may be helpful. For the undecided, if there is an experiment in our textbook that you have done at home, and your child enjoyed, revisit that one. Ask a question about it. Consider changing something about the experiment to see if it makes a difference. Please be sure your topic is related to Chemistry or Physics.
Also, I plan to send a packet home this Friday that will help with science fair planning and hopefully answer questions you may have. Please be sure you check your child’s notebooks and backpacks for the packet. We will have four weeks to prepare for the science fair project and will be using these pages all four weeks. Please keep up with them. We will need them in class each week.
During the four weeks of science fair prep, we will not have assignments from the textbook. But we will have science fair assignments to complete at home and then share with the class on Friday. I feel this process has been broken down into four manageable steps, each one being significant and advantageous to complete.
Science Fair: Step 1 – Question

Question : Sometimes called “Purpose” or “Problem” 
A Good scientific QUESTION has three parts:

• It is clearly written
• It starts with the verb “Does”
• It can be answered by measuring something

This is where you choose your idea.  Start by thinking about a general topic.  In other words, what are you interested in?  What are you curious about?  If you like sports, focus your attention there.  Maybe you are into electronics or video games…. maybe you love nature and can’t get enough of slimy things like worms.  
Once you have a general idea, it is then time to get specific.  Here’s an example.  Let’s say you like bugs.  Get more specific…. let’s focus on lightning bugs.  Is there anything you are curious about regarding lightning bugs?  Well, duh!  I’m interested in the fact that they light up.  Who isn’t?
Here are a few bad examples of a “Question” –

• Do lightning bugs light up?  (This is lame because you already know the answer!)
• Why do lightning bugs light up? (This is also not good.  You won’t be measuring anything)
• What lights up more – a lightning bug or my dog?  (Well, you could measure this…. but it’s super lame because you know the answer!)
• What affects the rate of lightning bug flashes? (You’re getting closer! But this is a bit too broad.  There may be lots of things that cause lightning bugs to flash.  Your project will probably be too big and hard to manage).

So what would be a good experimental question about lightning bugs?  Here are some good ones:

• Does temperature affect the rate of lightning bug flashes?
• Does humidity (moisture in the air) affect the rate of lightning bug flashes?
• Does moon phase affect the rate of lightning bug flashes?

Here is a good plan for writing your question….Just fill in the blanks……
Does _________________ affect the ________________ of ____________________?