Conducting experiments in the classroom

Some time ago I traveled to Göteborg to participate on a conference on promoting ocean education and literacy. EMSEA aims to improve ocean literacy in Europe by  encouraging public outreach by scientists, educating and supporting museums, teachers etc. and bringing together everybody to share their experiences.

My friend Mirjam drew my attention to the conference when she asked me whether I would join her in offering a workshop on “lab experiments in the classroom”. Her idea was to build a short workshop around one of our favorite and one of the most simple experiments: melting ice cubes.

Briefly, the experiment evolves around two cups of water – one with freshwater, one with saltwater – and ice cubes in each cup. The one million dollar question is: Will the ice cube melt faster in one or the other cup?? If so in which one? You can spice up the experiment by coloring the ice cubes or just adding food dye on top of the ice cubes.

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Preparing the workshop

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Mirjam leading the workshop

The workshop – we conducted it 3 times with around 30 participants – was a great success. We had our “students” perform the experiment in groups of 4, just as you might in the actual classroom, and I was happy to watch lively discussion about which ice cube was going to melt first and why. Around the experiment we also provided them with some facts and thoughts about how to integrate this kind of experiment in the classroom to get the most out of it. The workshop was well received, and it was great fun giving it.

By the way, for more inspiration on conducting simple experiments in the class room visit Mirjams website!

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