The fourth graders at Newberry Academy enjoy activities that make learning fun. Over the past few weeks Jaymi Wilbanks’ class participated in several hands-on activities.
The topics studied were buoyancy, density, and cotton plants.
The students learned about buoyancy by observing whether or not student-chosen objects sank or floated when placed in a large container of water. The objects tested included a plastic boat, an eraser, and a wooden pencil. Buoyancy was then correlated to real life applications, such as the design of submarines.
The fourth graders experimented with various liquids to determine their relative densities. Syrup, water, dish detergent, cooking oil, and wintergreen alcohol were mixed in a large glass jar. The students were surprised that the liquids formed layers, rather than a mixture. They then determined the relative density of the liquids based on where the liquid was located in the jar: denser liquids were on the bottom while “lighter” liquids were on top.
The final activity in this hands-on series was a spontaneous one. The idea for a social studies lesson, “Picking Cotton,” was sparked when a student brought in a cotton plant for show and tell. Several students had not seen a cotton plant and their curiosity was peaked. First, the students picked the cotton from the boll and next, the seed was separated from the cotton by hand.
After collecting the cotton, the class discussed the invention of the cotton gin and the process of weaving cotton into thread or cloth. Each student was excited to take a batch of cotton and seeds home to show to family and friends.