This is an easy experiment that has a colorful ending!
Is it possible to create or change the color of a white flower?
This is a great experiment when you teach students about plants. The best part is that you can use this for any grade level from K-12 when studying plants. The level of differentiation can be molded by explaining more about roots, xylem, phloem, transpiration and water absorption in plants.
Here is what you need:
- White flowers (daisies or carnations)
- Food coloring
- Large plastic cups (clear is better)
- Knife or scissors.
- Access to water.
- Fill the plastic cups about half full with water.
- Add a lot of food coloring and mix.
- Cut the bottom of the flower on a 45 degree angle.
- Observe the flowers every 2 hours.
How does it work?
The food coloring is brought up the petals of the flower. The plant must utilize that water for photosynthesis so the petals take on the color of the food coloring in the water.
STEM is not a new concept, it’s been around since about 2001. The integration of Science (S), Technology (T), Engineering (E) and Math (M) was created to help bring about a more integrated approach to teaching topics that can naturally go together. It is an outstanding idea that can help teachers and schools develop curricula that crosses over. It can foster team teaching with multiple departments. It can help inspire students to consider a field like engineering for a college major, because they’ve had lots of exposure to it at an early age (the same applies to the other pieces of STEM).
As a science teacher I’ve always tried to integrate and design things that crossed over. One example of crossing into STEM design would be more than just content – but in action and planning. In Life Science we had students in their technology class design a web page that would serve as a travel website for a biome. Spiraling the type of content you teach in any grade will allow you lots of opportunity to integrate and execute STEM in all of your lessons.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been teaching a while…and I’ve seen the great teaching hot trends come and go. We had integrated science, backward design (UBD), spiral curriculum and now we have STEM. Each time a new trend came out I became a little too aware that these acronyms became more of a public relations tool and less of a mantra for the improvement of curriculum. In this way STEM too may get lost if a school only buys into saving face and claiming that they really do STEM.
A school that really buys into STEM will get away from the teacher centered classroom and try to make an inquiry based classroom (as much as possible). It will require problem solving, discovery and exploratory learning which requires more planning and design by the administration and teachers. Adopting this type of teaching is a conscious decision that can require schedule change, classroom change and even subject matter changes.
Hopefully STEM will not get lost like other trends because it has some really solid principles that can help create independent thinkers. Even if your school does not adopt STEM you can always take small steps to create an environment of inquiry that inspires students to do what they do best…be little explorers!
Every teacher knows that stare. The blank, “I have no idea/don’t care what you are saying dead stare”. Sometimes it is because it is the last period of the day. It can also be a rather humdrum topic that puts the entire class in the doldrums of boredom. We stare at them and ponder how we can snap them out of it to get them engaged again.
A little science humor goes a long way!
I’ve always found that humor is an outstanding way to perk up a class. It can be as simple as the creative individual who thought this one up. Kids forget that we know what is going on in the world. They view us as disconnected. This disconnection doesn’t help; us reach them as “people”. One little joke that lets them know we are still connected and have a sense of humor can change everything. This one tells the students two things: I have a sense of humor and I keep up with your language (texting, that is).
Adding humor and creating connections are ways to really make students feel a connection to you as a teacher. You are no longer the long-winded science teacher – you are a person who wants them to learn and enjoy it! This doesn’t mean you have to be the wise-cracking teacher who isn’t serious. It means you get to pop a good one in there once in a while to break up the monotony. Sometimes, it just happens when we least expect it. Just like a teachable moment – make a humorous moment whenever you can.
We don’t remember the teachers who droned on day in and day out. We remember the ones that made us smaile or even laugh. The next time you’re in the middle of limiting reagents, the light reactions or mitosis – think of a way to add some humor. Your students will appreciate it and you’ll have a lot more of their attention!