What's In the Bag?

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SWBAT construct an evidence based account that objects can only be seen when illuminated.

Big Idea

Today the students will identify that the mystery item in the bag is a glow stick and that it gives off its own light.

Setting the Stage

1 minutes

Materials:  glow sticks, paper bags, flashlights, and the book Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe.

The students will demonstrate how the use of glow sticks can help them find the hidden treasures located in the school's basement.  

Our district has not moved toward implementation of the NGSS yet.  However, sound waves is a concept that is in our current curriculum.  I am pushing my students toward the full NGSS expectations of both light and sound waves.  Since it is above what the district requires, I am can push the students to go beyond the expectations. The NGSS expects students to:

1-PS4-2. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated.
1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light. 
1-PS4-4. Use tools and materials to design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the problem of communicating over a distance.


10 minutes

"Did you know that our school has a basement.  It is a little trap door in the supply closet.  Today we are going to take a trip into the basement.  I have been told that there are hidden treasures to be found.  The only problem is that not many people know about this secret room and no one has been in it for years.  The last I heard there are no working lights in the basement.  How are we going to find the treasures with no working lights?"

I want to engage the students by captivating their interest with the possibility of an adventure.  By involving them in the scenario, I believe that they will have immediate buy in with the task.


20 minutes

"Before we go on our adventure, I would like to discuss items that we could use to help us see in the dark?"

I take a few suggestions and then pull out a flashlight.  

"How does a flashlight illuminate or provide light?  A flashlight would work but unfortunately this is the only one in the school and the batteries are about dead."

I reach into paper bag and activate a couple of glow sticks and hold up the glowing bag.   "What do you think is in there?  You are correct, they are glow sticks.  Do the items provide light?  Could they help us see where the hidden treasures are int eh basement?"

"You are now going to try it on your own.  You will each take a shoe box (or small paper box) and place one gold coin in the box.  You will then look in the small hole on the cover and see if you can find the coin?  Then you will throw two glow sticks into the box.  You will then peak into the box and see if you can see the coin."

"Once you are done, I would like you to open up your science notebook and explain what you observed.  I would like you to draw what it looked like inside the box each time and then explain how the glow sticks changed what you."

The point of this activity is to reiterate that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated.


5 minutes

I ask the students to gather on the carpet and face the Smart board.  I use the document camera to display students notebook entries.  I want them to explain what they saw and at the same time allow other students to see how students represented their thinking.  I purposefully pick the students that will share.  I choose three different entries that are not similar in their representations (i.e one may be for their diagram and another may be for their writing).  

I don't want to show more than three because studies show that more than three will be lost in conversation.  Students at this age can handle seeing three examples.  At the same time, it is important to show a variety of approaches.  I don't want students to feel there is only one correct way of noting their learning.  By only showing type of work,it would send the message of only having one way of being correct.



10 minutes

Once the presentations are done, I read the story Fireflies, by Julie Brinckloe, to the class.  If you don't have the book, you could use the following link to listen and watch a video recording of the book.  As I read the book, I will explain that living and non living things illuminate in different ways.  

After reading the book, I have the following discussion.

"Think about when you are outside at night.  When do you see the fireflies?  Is it when they are just flying around or when they are flying and are illuminated?  It is the same idea as the treasures in the box today.  They can only be seen when they are illuminated."


5 minutes

"I would like each of you to take a plain piece of paper.  We are not like Fireflies.  We don't produce our own light but there are things that we can do to be seen at night so that we are illuminated.  I want you to prepare yourself to go for a nighttime bike ride.  You need to draw a picture of yourself and your bike.  You must have things on you that will allow you and your bike to be seen at night. Make sure to label the items."

I am looking to see if the students understand that there are things we use at night to be seen.  The idea that we need to produce illumination to be seen at night will be evident in their drawings.