Question, explore and discover in middle school science class

Science is a process which demands observation, thinking, making hypothesis, designing and performing experimentation, collecting data and analyzing data, making inferences, replicating the tests, generalizing and exploring further. To understand this process and promoting scientific thinking and creativity among the learners I visited one of the school of Uttarkashi District.This is one of the government primary school of Uttarkashi located in the semi urban Gyansu which is connected to Uttarkashi town. Around 8 am when I reached to the schools the voices of young minds were echoing in whole school atmosphere. 

Before going to school, I spent some duration for theme designing and arranging required material as straw, cycle spoke, cello tap, plastic bowl, match box, balloon & candle.

Without losing too much time, students of grade 4th and 5th were assembled together. I surprised them that today only thing which is required is our attention and brain storming. Some learners started laughing at this. With some activities & questioning I promised that we will attempt to understand the concept at hand . Then we proceed for performing some activities which are:

Activity 1.1: We have a bowl having sufficient water. If we put match stick on water what will happens? How we can change the position of floating match stick?

Required material: plastic bowl, match stick, water

Without losing a second they replied match stick will float. Then we took match stick and drop it in bowl having water and asked what things you are able to see? They replied in unison voices that water, bowl, match stick, floating match stick. Then again I asked what the position of match stick is. They told match stick is floating in the corners of bowl and sometimes touching the corner surface of bowl. Then I asked how to change the position of match stick? They were so curious therefore without losing time they blow air, move whole bowl and tilted the bowl & changed the position of floating match stick. I appreciated their effort and increased the complexity by asking, how to change position of match stick without using these approaches. Students started mumbling among each other and seems little bit confused.

After a certain time they bang the desks and found the changed position of match stick. I again appreciated this alternative approach of learners and enhance one more complexity of task by asking how to change position of floating match stick without using all previously applied methods? Students thought for 3-4 minutes and in hushed voices one student replied by adding water something can happen. Instantly he took water mug and poured water on plastic bowl having floating match stick. Instantly the position of match stick changed and it came to the centre of bowl. By following him all did this approach and found the same results. Students were happy to do this activity. This activity reflects gradual development of alternative approaches by the learners and paradigm of thinking and doing.   

Activity 2: Balloon above the lighted candle but not bursting

Required material: balloon, match box, candle

I asked all the learners that if we keep blowing balloon above the lighting candle what will happens. Without losing a second all replied balloon will burst. Then we took balloon and filled it with air and kept above the lighting candle. Instantly balloon burst and a resonated voice were experienced. Then I asked, we will again do this activity but now we have the task to save balloon from bursting. Students got confused and replied in slow voices how it is possible. While facing this surprising moment three students raised their hands and told if we blew up the balloon by filling water inside and then keep this blowing balloon above the lighting candle something can happens. One of the student went outside the classroom and filled some water inside the balloon. Students near to candle/table moves back and the feeling of balloon bursting and generation of resonated voice were clearly visible in the faces of learners. Then he hold blowing water balloon above the lighting candle for 10 minute but balloon were not burst yet. They were fully surprised and school teacher (Mrs. Lingwal) tried to explain the reason of this process and further I added that while heating, heat is directly transferring from outer surface of balloon to the water (which is filled inside the balloon) so balloon remained in its natural condition or did not burst. After activity, one of the students told the bottom outer surface of balloon become black and another told while heating some water drops were observed in outer surface that might be sweat of balloon. Some students’ turned towards him and some started laughing and some were thinking. I asked all whether it is possible? Students started laughing and told no. Then I told it might happen when we filled balloon with water. There is a possibility of fallen water in inner as well outer surface of balloon.