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January 3, 2013

Orbeeze Science Experiment - Freebie

This week we are reading "Emily's Hands On Science Experiment" in my classroom.  It's about a girl who creates a Science experiment that eventually gets published in a medical journal.  It's a tough story for kids to understand since it talks about Touch Therapy - which is a tough topic in itself.  Yes, we talk about it, but I focus more about the steps of the Scientific Process that she went through to do her Science project.  It's something they can relate to.  

Since it's a very short week (3 days) and the story is only 4 pages long, I decided to use time to complete our Orbeeze Science Experiment.  Orbeeze are these tiny little pellets that expand in liquid.  This lesson is a very simple experiment that helps the students understand the steps to the Scientific Process.  It's something that we observe all day.
Materials Needed:
*Orbeeze - the package comes in 3 colors, 1/4 tsp. of each color
*3 containers - I use empty plastic water bottles 
(since I have plenty in my classroom's recycling)
*3 liquids (1 cup each liquid) - It doesn't matter what liquid you use, just make sure they are basically different compositions and that they are clear.
-Distilled Vinegar
-Soda (Lemon Lime Soda)

First, I give them one of these papers.  It's a basic form that allows them to fill in the information.  It's a freebie over at TPT - just click the picture and it will take you there.  
We go through each step together in filling out the form.  I have them focus on putting down the details (which ties into what we are focusing on in writing as well).

Ask a Question:  How large does Orbeeze grow in vinegar, water, and soda? We all wrote this down together.

Make a Hypothesis (Guess):  I think vinegar will make the Orbeeze grow the largest. (Yes, I specifically guessed WRONG for the experiment. I wanted them to see that it's not the end of the world if you guess wrong.)  The students created their own guesses.

Conduct the Experiment:  The students wrote out the Steps/Procedures 
Step 1:  Pour 1/4 tsp. Orbeeze into each bottle.  One color per bottle.
Step 2: Pour 1 cup of liquid in each bottle.  
Step 3.  Label the bottles with the type of liquid.
Step 4:  Observe bottles and Orbeeze every 30 minutes for 5 hours.  

Collect Data:  We made a chart - which tied into our math lesson of collecting and sorting information.
Instead of me typing everything up again - I'll just share what our charts looked like afterward (I typed up the class results for an example).  As we were observing we did not open up the containers of liquid.  We did not measure the Orbeeze until the very end of the school day when we used a ruler to measure diameter.  We made graphs on the back of their papers.  

Analyze Information/Summary/Reflection:  Students wrote the final results in this section.  They had to turn their charts of information into words.  They compared the balls and wrote their findings.  For example one student wrote, "Water turned out to be the biggest.  Vinegar turned out to be the smallest.  Soda was in the middle of water and vinegar."  They then had to go back to their Question & Hypothesis to see if they guessed correctly and if we did answer our question.  I also had them write a reflection of what they learned as well.

It's a fun experiment that gets results quickly.  I have found the Orbeeze near the play dough in Target (toy section).  Hope this helps someone!

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