Teachers and families across the country are facing a new reality of providing opportunities for students to do science through distance and home learning. The Daily Do is one of the ways NSTA is supporting teachers and families with this endeavor. Each weekday, NSTA will share a sensemaking task teachers and families can use to engage their students in authentic, relevant science learning. We encourage families to make time for family science learning (science is a social process!) and are dedicated to helping students and their families find balance between learning science and the day-to-day responsibilities they have to stay healthy and safe.
Interested in learning about other ways NSTA is supporting teachers and families? Visit the NSTA homepage.
Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.
How do clouds form? Hot air rises! Why is it warmer at the top of the stair than the bottom of the stairs? Heat rises! How does the hot air balloon take off? Hot air/Heat rises!
Do these responses sound like like responses your students might give? In today's task, How does the hot air balloon take off?, students engage in science and engineering practices and the thinking tool of the flow of energy and matter (crosscutting concept) to figure out what is "rising" and how the science ideas of energy transfer and the movement of matter can explain this and other phenomena.
Say to students, "I have a video that shows a puzzling a phenomenon that I want to explore together. Some of you may have experienced this phenomenon before."
Tell students to create a T-chart with the left side labeled noticings and the right side labeled wonderings. Ask students to record observations and questions that arise as they watch the video.
Show the Hot Air Balloon Take Off video (above). You may choose to show the video multiple times. Consider showing the video at 1.5 speed after the first viewing (Settings > Playback speed > 1.5).
Note: The loud noise in the beginning of the video is made by the fan used to inflate the balloon. The fan is visible in the lower left corner of the screen at about 1:35. Consider pausing the video to point out the fan to students.
Ask students to share their observations with a partner or small group. Then ask students to share their observations (or those shared by a partner or group member) with the whole class. Record student observations on a class poster (or any place where observations can be accessed by all students.) If questions come up while students are sharing observations, capture them on a second poster.
Tell students, "Many of you have questions about about how hot air makes the balloon go up (they've likely noted the balloon is quite heavy). Does it make sense to investigate this question first?"
Tell students they are going to investigate a phenomenon related to the hot air balloon taking off.
Assign students to small groups of three or four. Give each group one piece of poster (chart) paper. Instruct the groups, "Create a group model to explain your observations of the bottle with the soap-bubble film in water, on the table and in cold water." Share the model scaffold (below) with with the groups and ask them to transfer the scaffold to their group's poster paper.
Note: Using this scaffold will make it easier for students to compare their group model with other group models.
As you move from group to group, consider using the discipline-specific probes below to move students' thinking deeper.
Students are having difficult time getting started.
Students are telling you heat is rising.
Students are not representing forces and/or energy.
Consider allowing students 15-25 minutes to create their group models.
Ask student groups to post their models so that other groups can view them (gallery walk).
Tell students to observe at least three other group models and
Provide students an opportunity to revise their group models at the end of the gallery walk.
Tell students, "Let's work toward consensus on a model that explains our observations of the bottle with the soap-bubble film in hot water, on the table and in cold water."
Draw three bottles on chart paper making sure to put the bottles in the same order as the model scaffold students used to create their group models.
Ask students to look at their models and their notes on similarities and differences between their group model and the three other group models they observed to be ready to share the components and interactions INSIDE the bottles the class consensus model should include. Likely student responses and teacher follow-up questions are listed below.
Ask students, "We're all mentioning the air is warm in this bottle (point to bottle in warm water) and cool in this bottle (point to bottle in cold water). How does the air warm up (cool down)? How can we represent this on our class model?"
Focus students' attention back on the soap bubble films. Point to the bubble inside the cool bottle and ask, "What caused the change in motion of this soap bubble film in the cool bottle?"
Say to students, "So it seems we have to include air particles on the bottles in our consensus model to explain our observations. Do you think we'll need to include the air outside the hot air balloon to explain the balloon's motion?"
Ask students to make a claim about how the hot air balloon takes off from the ground and to support that claim with evidence from observations of the phenomenon (video) and from the class consensus model explaining observations of the bottle with the soap bubble film in the warm water, on the table and in the cool water.
Consider different ways students might share their evidence-supported claims with each other or the whole class learning communities:
Please share other ideas for students to respectively provide and receive critiques below.
NSTA has created a How does the hot air balloon take off? collection of resources to support teachers and families using this task. If you're an NSTA member, you can add this collection to your library by clicking ADD TO MY LIBRARY located near the top of the page (at right in the blue box).
The NSTA Daily Do is an open educational resource (OER) and can be used by educators and families providing students distance and home science learning. Access the entire collection of NSTA Daily Dos.