We started our week discussing the delay for the Artemis I launch and its reasons. The new launch attempt is Saturday! Then, we shifted into designing our Galileo experiments. Do objects fall at the same or different rates?
The class was split into four groups, and each group designed their own methods for how to release two objects at the same time from the height of our porch and how to determine when they hit the ground. Each team had the same goal, but all approached the problem differently.
After working together to come up with a plan, students moved into actually building their prototype for testing. Once they showed me how their plan would work, testing with smaller objects, they moved on to put their system together for the actual experiment.
On Wednesday, we took a break from Science to dive into writing stories. We learned the three basic needs for every story––a setting, characters, and a plot. We brainstormed each of these categories and what details we could include for each.
Then, we had three stations set up––one for the setting, one for the characters, and one for the plot. At each station, students would spend about five minutes dreaming and imagining details for a story. Then, we would switch, and they would change their focus from the setting to the characters.
The idea was to learn how we brainstorm stories. We can start anywhere and then we shift between those three categories as new ideas come to us. It was a fun way to start the process.
Thursday, we went back to gravity to actually perform our experiment. We encountered various little road bumps along the way, but it was a lot of fun. I mean, dropping a basketball off the porch is not something we do every day! We recorded our results, using what we discovered from each group's different designs.
What do the results tell us? What conclusions can we make? That is where we began on Friday. Our results were very inconsistent and ultimately told us nothing. This was to be expected (at least by me). We talked about where the flaws in our experiment design could be.
Stopwatches are hard to get consistent results with.
The objects might not have been level when hanging from strings to start.
Those were a few that we named. We talked about how experiment design can sometimes be challenging, but that our goal is to try and remove as many variables from our experiment as possible.
So, what should our results have been? We went backward in our Scientific Method, back to research. I showed them a great video of physicist Brian Cox performing our experiment at a special facility where they created a vacuum.
We saw a bowling ball and a collection of feathers fall together at the same rate. It's a really interesting sight when you first see it! It just feels wrong! Then, we spent a few minutes talking about why it happens, which is something we'll revisit next week as well.
When there's one cool video, there's definitely another. So, to end our science time on Friday, we watched the experiment done on the Moon from the Apollo 15 mission. Using a feather and a hammer, we watched the astronaut drop the objects and fall at the same rate to the lunar surface. Truly awesome.
We're off to a great start in understanding gravity and taking the Scientific Method to the next level!