How the heck do you teach the conservation of mass to 8th grade students? Lab activities are always good, but what lab activity can be done without the students getting super confused? Two components are required. First, a chemical reaction is needed. It must use simple chemicals, and it should be obvious that a chemical reaction took place. Second, it must be easily quantifiable. In other words the mass is easy to measure and it must show very clearly that mass was not lost during the chemical reaction. I think I may have finally developed a lab activity that addresses both components. Watch the video and download the student worksheet for more details.
Evolution is the change in a species over time. Scientists look at multiple sources for evidence that a species has evolved overtime. Fossils are one of those sources. How do scientists no the age of a fossil? They use a technique called radiometric dating to determine the absolute age of a fossil. You can use M & M"s to simulate how radioactive decay actually works. Watch the video to see how and download the student handout (word document).
This is an updated version of a past demo. Cell membranes are selectively permeable. That is the membrane allows some materials to pass through and not others. This allows the cell to maintain homeostasis, a condition in which the cell maintains the proper levels of needed materials. In this demo the plastic of the bag acts as a selectively permeable membrane. Iodine is small enough to pass through the plastic, while the larger water molecules are too big. Watch the video on how to do it and to see what happens.
I bought a new video camera, so I decided to test it out. Diffusion is a post that I did in the past, but I think the new camera makes it better.
Let’s Grub on Some Grass Beetles is a natural selection simulation. Natural selection is the “process by which favorable heritable traits become more common in successive generations of a population of reproducing organisms, and unfavorable heritable traits become less common.” In this activity, part 1 involves variations in silver beak loon beak types. There are tweezers, spoon, and knife shaped beaks. The beak best adapted to capturing grass beetles will survive and more chances to reproduce. The tweezers and spoon beaks are best adapted. The population of silver beak loons will change to a majority of tweezers and spoon beaks. Part 2 deals with variations in grass beetle color. The green grass beetles are best adapted to hiding in the grass than the orange or yellow grass beetles. In successive generations the populations of grass beetles will shift to green colors, since they will have the best chance to survive, reproduce and pass the variation to their offspring.
Watch the video and listen to the commentary on how to do the activity. Download handout: Let’s Grub on Some Grass Beetles