A simple challenge where students in small groups or on their own must decide which materials and much of them they should "buy" to build a bridge that must span a 15cm gap(between 2 chairs or boxes)
They are allowed a budget and must not spend more than allowed so must choose wisely.
The bride is tested to destruction by hanging masses (100g at a time) until the bridge fails
A set of experiments designed to get students thinking about possible VARIABLES that may make craters bigger or smaller. This can lead to a full investigation once the student has chosen a "good" (more controlable variable)
I have used this assessment with students over the years and modified/improved as time went on.
I believe it to be a good way of assessing students when they are new to the school or even at the end of each year or indeed at any time you wish.
It is based around 4 small assessments for Biology, Chemistry & Physics, so a total of 12 mini-assessments.
Ideally the teacher or assistant spends up to 30 mins (can split the assessment over a few days if you wish but best results have been when the entire assessment is completed at one time) in a ONE TO ONE session.
The teacher/assistant reads the script (this is important as it reduces leading questions and clues to answers), the responses are noted down but in most cases a tick will indicate if the student has understood fully, partially understood or not understood at all.
Minimal resources are needed and are kept in a tray for use at any time. I believe doing or demonstrating science is a beautiful way to engage students, so the assesment uses this.
You will need to source basics like balloons, toy car, rocks etc.
I chose to set up 4 trays so 4 assessments could be completed at the same time (perhaps different classes)
The levels assessed are from P4 up to 4a old levels (which I believe are still useful) you may wish to change the names of the levels to suit your own school.
The script states which resources to use in each question as well as appropriate answers that should be expected for fully, partially and not at all levels of understanding. This allows staff that are not science trained to be able to complete these assessments with the students with relative ease.
A simple A4 template that allows students to make a small but useable periscope, you will need the mirror card to glue onto the periscope.
Challenges to make them longer...ie make an extension tube...does not need to be square! could be tin foil tube etc...periscope is cut in half and the ends slipped over the extension tube.
I have had students make a "sea" out of tables, they crawl around underneath and pop up a periscope in gaps between tables to look around.
Simple worksheet that allows students to invstigate materials and their uses around school (at home for HW).
Students can look at specific objects(chair) and write down what it seems to be from.
Students are also encouraged to look for the material and say what it is used for...so that materials and properties are approached from both ways.
Then the more tricky task of putting materials into groups, students can classify them in their own way..get ready for some unusual classification techniques.
As an extension students can continue with materials/objects of their own choice..this usually introduces the student's own interests into scientific method.
3 activities which I use in turn. As soon as the student has completed the first activity and had it checked, they get the next one.
Students love the challenge.
It is not a race!
Students learn through trial and error as well as each other
I love these activities...you must be prepared for all sorts of ideas from the students...but more importantly allow them to try it out..PLEASE DO NOT tell them "this won't work because" and then give them all the answers that are required by law and the curriculum....let them excercise their own problem solving skills and love you for letting them try it out..in a controlled way of course.
Basically they need to find out/ try out/ explore what conditions seeds need to germinate successfully
I have had students burn some seeds with a bunsen as they had seen plants growing after a forest fire..indeed you can discuss thet some seeds need extreme heat before they germinate.
Other ideas students have had:
put in freezer overnight, soak in water, hit with rock, put in acid, keep in dark, keep in light, and so it goes on
With limited resorces this gives students an opportunity to test out "sound proofing"
You just need a table, paper clip, ruler and a selection of materials that may be useful in blocking out the noise from a noisy neighbour
Give the students as much guidance as you like or alternatively, as I prefer, just give them the limited resorces and tell them to devise a "fair" test.
Potential for discussion, competition and looking silly walking around with ear protectors made out of the winning material