First graders in Delavan-Darien’s Dual Language Education Program spent much of the day Wednesday performing various scientific experiments to learn more about the solar system.
The experiments also intentionally integrated Spanish literacy through the use of student Science Notebooks.
About 80 students rotated through some hands-on, fun, engaging, and interactive “center” type experiments planned by 1st Grade Dual Language teachers Ray Paez and Brenda San Jose.
The experiments were set up as the following centers:
- The Hot Surface of Mercury (La Superficie Caliente de Mercurio): Here the students assisted the teacher in placing a model of Mercury near a heat lamp to simulate Mercury’s close proximity to the Sun. After a few minutes, students touched Mercury’s surface to feel its temperature had warmed.
- The Volcanoes of Venus (Los Volcanes de Venus): Here the students mixed vinegar and baking soda in small containers to create their own mini volcanoes.
- The Great Red Spot of Jupiter (La Gran Mancha Roja de Júpiter): Here the students used a large spoon to mix a bowl of red water at different velocities to simulate the hurricane of Jupiter’s red spot.
- The Wonder of Saturn (El Asombro de Saturno): Here the students pieced together a puzzle of Saturn and then placed clear beads along its rings for a 3D effect.
- The Tilted Axis of Uranus (El Eje Inclinado de Urano): Here the students used hula hoops horizontally with their body and then vertically with their arm to simulate the tilted axis of Uranus.
- The Hurricanes of Neptune (Los Huracanes de Neptuno): Here students blew air through a straw into a bowl of blue water at different velocities to simulate the ferocious winds on Neptune’s surface.
With each experiment, the students were directed to make meaningful predictions and subsequent observations using the academic language learned throughout the unit by creating scientific sketches/drawings and brief written descriptions in their science notebooks.
To this end, students were provided with teacher-generated worksheets and sentence frames as a means of differentiation so that each student at every level could benefit from the experience. Teachers also purposefully elicited oral responses in order to check for understanding and integrate the building of oracy (the ability to express oneself fluently and grammatically in speech).
The day after, Mr. Paez debriefed with his students and gave them the opportunity to revisit their science notebooks, reflect and finalize their recording of data and observations, and bring them “alive” through coloring.