I made ScienceFix.com to share my favorite demos that I do in my middle school science classes.  

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Media that I like...
  • Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon
    Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon
    by Sara Howard
  • NOVA - Origins
    NOVA - Origins
    starring Neil Degrasse Tyson
  • Human Body: Pushing the Limits
    Human Body: Pushing the Limits
    starring Bray Poor

Melting Rates

This is a good discrepit event to start a conversation on heat energy. Ice cubes are placed on blocks made of different materials (although students aren't aware of that). One ice cube melts at a much faster rate than the other. The block that melted the ice cube faster feels colder than the other. Students are quick to predict/assume that the warmer block would have melted the ice cube faster. This leads to a critical thinking discussion of how heat energy flows and the ability of materials to conduct heat better or worse than others. 


Scientific Method Box

It’s far from the beginning of the school year but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach students how science works. The way I ease my students to this somewhat complex concept is to expose them to the scientific method concept box. Students first make observations with their eyes about the box. After they share what they actually see (colors, words, numbers, and most importantly one side is covered up), they should come up with a question that they are wondering about. The question is “what does the covered side look like?” Students then generate hypotheses about the numbers, colors and words that make up that covered side. They then make more observations and see if there are any patterns in the data. They adjust their hypotheses as they continue to make observations. They finally get to uncover the side in question and compare the results to their hypotheses. For some students the results are expected and match their hypotheses. For others the results do not match their hypotheses. It’s a really good lead to a discussion that what is important in science is data that can lead to a conclusion regardless if the hypothesis is supported or not. In fact it is the unexpected results that lead to new scientific questions and discoveries that weren’t thought possible before. If you want the template for the boxes, email me at darren@sciencefix.com and I will send it to you.



Teachers Being Students: "What is Mass?"

Four brave non science teachers at my school were asked the question, "What is mass?"  The teachers struggled to answer the question. Students learn science concepts best by confronting what they know about a concept, usually a misconception, and then trying to fit new and often conflicting information with that knowledge. Students often view this as confusing, but studies have shown that they learn a science concept better (see Veritasium's talk on effective education movies). The purpose of this video is to show my students that teachers/adults go through the exact same process.

Floating & Sinking Mystery

I have had a Density Paradox set for quite a while, but never have used it. This past week I decided to try it out. I might use this as a scientific investigation inquiry lab. Students can observe the first part of the first video and then they can hypothesize what caused the results and then propose ways of testing their hypotheses. Watch the video and then click on the solution tab at the end to see the solution.


Review: UFO Balloon

I bought the UFO Balloon from a local education store a while ago, but never took the time to test it out until now. It is supposed to demonstrate the effect of temperature on a gas. Does it? Check out the video to see the results.