As an activity to study the states of matter, fifth-grade teacher Mary Donahue and St. John the Baptist School STREAM coordinator Mary Makar worked together to create lab stations for the students to apply the concepts that they learned in science class and understand how these theories work in the real world.
"Students worked together and traveled between three lab stations, each lab applying a different theory about the topic of matter," Donahue said. "Working in the Makerspace on science experiments means instant engagement for our students. The more engaged they are, the better they learn, so bringing experiences like this to my students just makes sense."
Students rotated between three lab stations where they identified properties of solids, differentiated between mixtures and solutions, and learned how states of matter change.
The highlight of this lab experience for the children was watching and doing experiments with dry ice. After going over the safety rules of dry ice, Makar, explained the difference between regular ice and dry ice. Dry ice is carbon dioxide in its solid state. Unlike solid water or ice that changes into a liquid state when it melts, dry ice changes directly to a gaseous state under proper conditions. Students learned that this process is called sublimation. "As soon as I took the dry ice out of the cooler and it began to fog, I immediately heard the amazement of the students," Makar said. "Demonstrating the process of sublimation directly in front of the students rather than reading about it in a textbook or watching a video helped them to fully understand what was happening."