Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Investigating Ice Balloons
Last week we spent some time investigating ice balloons, balloons filled with water and then frozen for four days. Gasses within the water try to escape as the water freezes, creating incredible pathways of escape, emphasized when lit by a flashlight in a dark room. After a ten minutes or so we introduced food coloring to the ice balloon. Soon after salt, then sugar.
Students received an unlimited supply of index cards. Their sole task, other than to experience the beauty of the ice balloon, was to ask as many questions as they possibly could and write them down during the experience. One question per card. Each substance introduction evoked more questions.
Upon completion, they divided their cards into two categories - investigable questions vs research questions. Discussions on characteristics of each of these categories resulted.
Students could have the option of choosing a question and carrying out the experiment as a class activity or as homework.
Takes about 40 minutes for the investigation and 25 minutes for the question discussion.