• Ontario Tech-Trent WIC

Steps To Inquiry: Fall-Themed Experiments for Everyone!

OTT-WIC has partnered with the Durham District School Board (DDSB) to run a series of workshops for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Our first workshop took place on October 11th and explored how different forms of inquiry can be used to spark curiosity in the classroom and allow students to uncover scientific concepts.

Jane Kennedy, STEM & Science Facilitator (Student Achievement and Curriculum Department, DDSB), walked students through the steps to inquiry while we showcased several fall-themed experiments.

For those of us who like Fall, there's nothing more beautiful that seeing leaves change colour. Have you ever wondered what causes that colour change though? For our first activity, students learnt about the different pigments found in leaves.

Students then applied steps to inquiry to discover the hidden colours of fall leaves and were able to separate these pigments using chromatography. This experiment only requires a few simple materials like filter paper (or coffee filters), cups, rubbing alcohol and leaves (or spinach!).

Our next activity posed a challenge for students: can you get water to move from a full cup to an empty one using only paper towels and without lifting either cup? Through this fun activity, students explored the concept of capillary action and managed to create beautiful 'walking water' rainbows.

For our last activity, students got to create a milk rainbow while learning about surface tension.

Students investigated the effect of adding liquid soap to milk. In particular, they were investigating how soap, a surfactant, impacts the surface tension of milk. In order to visualize these interactions, food colouring was used.

Using steps to inquiry, students tested different types of milk and came up with their own hypotheses about how these results would change based on the fat content of milk.

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