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23 Nov

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Lately, in 5th class, we’ve been working on the skills we need to carry out investigations. Ms Whyte asked us to consider which is the best kitchen towel and to compare it with the type we use in the school already. We brainstormed what ‘best’ means in the context of lots of different situations. Here are some of the qualities we brainstormed for ‘best sandwich’

best sandwich

We also brainstormed ‘best car’, ‘best clothing’ – even ‘best fake tan’! When we had lots of practice, we brainstormed what ‘best’ means in the context of kitchen towel.

We narrowed it down to:
Most absorbent
Value for money

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Then we started designing tests for the various investigations a couple of days in advance, to encourage us to think of the advantages and disadvantages of testing in a particular way.

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This is day one of testing. We investigated the softest and the prettiest kitchen towels.

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To find the prettiest, we took a vote by placing a cube on the sheet that we thought looked the nicest. This was a useful investigation, because it wasn’t very scientific. Prettiest is a very subjective adjective – that means that it’s based on your opinion, rather than a test.

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Next we investigated the softest. We predicted which one would be the softest first, but we had to design a test where we wouldn’t be influenced by our predictions. We decided to use blindfolds and a partner system, where the partner would hand the blindfolded person the 7 different kitchen towel samples in a random order. The blindfolded person chose the softest and we collected the votes at the end to find which were the softest overall. We revised how to use tally marks to record our results. Here are a couple of Vines from our investigations:

Next, we worked in small groups to choose a question to investigate. Three groups chose to investigate the most absorbent, while one chose to investigate which was the strongest. In groups, we designed tests to investigate. We’ve learned a lot about fair tests over the past few weeks.

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Aoife’s planning sheet makes it very clear that she understands what a ‘fair test’ is. Ms Kane, Ms Ní Chionnaith, Mr Foley, Ms Olson and Ms Sugrue all called in to watch our investigations, but we were in charge of our testing! Some groups adapted their investigations as they went along, while others retested theirs if there wasn’t a clear result.

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We exhibited lots of scientific skills, from predicting, to measuring, to recording, to inferring. We are going to collate our information and results and present our findings to Ms Whyte so that she can make an informed decision about the brand of kitchen towel that we use in the school.

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We had a great fun and some of our results really surprised us.

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Here’s a Vine showing our planning in groups:

This group tested the strongest kitchen paper using marbles:

All busy at work testing our investigations:

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Jamie and Finn also calculated the cost for 3000 sheets of each brand of kitchen towel so that we could compare it with the brand we use in school.

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On Thursday and Friday, we designed posters to represent our findings.

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Each poster includes the question our group investigated, our results, our conclusions and any observations. 2015-11-20 15.12.11

This week, we’re going to present our findings and recommendations to Ms Whyte, after a very interesting discussion where each group presented their results.

One Response to “Science Investigations in 5th class”

  1. Ms. Kane
    6:50 pm on November 27th, 2015

    Well done on carrying out such thorough Science investigations 5th class! Thanks for inviting me into your classroom, I was so impressed with your scientific skills and your ability to design your own investigations. Ms. Kane.

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