Wednesday – introduce topic
Today we are going to look at surface tension and buoyancy. What makes things float? This is in preparation for a field trip to the Calvert Marine Museum on Friday which has indoor and outdoor collections of historic boats. In addition, there is a boat shed where the boat restorations and building of historic replicas take place -- you can visit the boat shed and speak to the woodworkers.
Begin by reading Make Way for Ducklingsby Robert McCloskey. What helps the ducklings stay afloat (they are paddling with their feet). Ask the children many of them know how to swim or stay afloat. How do you do it? Now, how does a boat stay afloat?
Science Experiment 1:
Do the “Make a Paperclip Float” activity. Have the children use paper to record the results of their experiments.
Read Time of Wonderby Robert McCloskey. Ask the children how many of them have experienced a severe rainstorm or hurricane. Explain that sometimes severe storms can cause boats to capsize and sink. This happens when the boats fill with water (see the explanation “Weight, Shape and Water” on page 35 of Show Me How I Can Experiment (Show Me How I Can)by Steve Parker).
Science Experiment 2:
Do the “Sink or Swim” activity on pages 34-35 of I Can Experiment. Ask the children to make predictions before testing each object, then record their findings on a sheet:
Discuss the explanation “Floating Forces” on page 34 of I Can Experiment.
Additional Surface Tension Experiments
Thursday – explore topic
Read Paper Johnby David Small. Let the children try to make their own paper boats (which will actually float!)
Activity: “Folding a Paper Boat”
After a while, your paper boat will no longer float. Why is that? Ask the children if they can come up with some theories (using what they learned in previous experiments) as to what makes the boat sink.
When you visit the Calvert Marine Museum, it will be either high or low tide when you first get there. Explain to the children that the tides will change and that you can visit the Marsh Walk twice (once before the Tennison cruise, once after). By visiting twice, you will see different things. At high tide, water covers most of the mud flats at the marsh and you see ducks, crabs, or jellyfish swimming. At low tide, the water is much shallower and mud is exposed. In this mud you can see evidence of fiddler crab burrows and even the giant claw of a fiddler crab or two. Great blue herons, raccoons, and river otters also visit the marsh to hunt for their dinner and you may see evidence of their footprints in the mud.
Read Otters under Waterby Jim Arnosky.
Regardless of what time of day you do the marsh walk, you’ll want to have your underwater viewfinders with you. This will help you get a close-up view of the animals’ underwater world.
Activity: Have each child make an “Underwater Scope” to take on the field trip. If you end up with extra time, the children can put some of the objects used in their experiments in a bowl of water and practice using their scopes to magnify them.
Friday – make field trip journals
While waiting for the field trip, read The Lighthouse Catby Sue Stainton. You’ll definitely want to take a tour of the Drum Point Lighthouse when you are at the museum! Be sure to stop and watch the video in the front lobby when you first arrive. It gives an overview of the museum and shows exactly how they moved the lighthouse from its original location at Drum Point (this involved working through the night with blowtorches and borrowing a giant crane to lift the lighthouse).
Ask the children to use construction paper and crayons to draw a lighthouse of their own design (the cover of their field trip journals). Have each child write his/her name on the back of the artwork. Fold and hole punch 8 ½ x 11 white paper, punch artwork to match. Tie ribbons through holes. Have each child write the name of the field trip destination, the date, and his/her age on Page 1 of the journal. Have each child write a prediction of what he/she expects to see and do on the field trip on Page 2. Take the journals and a pencil for each child so that he/she can take notes on the field trip.
Lined paper for each child to record results of science experiments
Clean dry paperclips
A bowl of water
Pencil with eraser
Household items such a cork, pumice stone, pebble, small sieve, metal dish, clothespin, dry sponge, wooden spoon, metal spoon, nail, ping pong ball, etc.
Several rolls of pennies
3 or 4 medicine droppers
Several dinner glasses
8 ½ x 11 white paper
Empty plastic containers with lids (such as yogurt containers) – 1 for each child
3 hole punch
8 ½ x 11 inch white paper
Ribbon in various colors