The Laws of Oobleck
Our scientific convention took place this morning in order to share each group’s discoveries from last week and come to a consensus on the “Laws of Oobleck”. A law is defined as a descriptive generalization about how some aspect of the natural world behaves under stated circumstances. I was interested to see how long they would stay involved in this type of discussion because of the differing ages and attention spans.
Boy, was I surprised! As each group shared an observation from last week we tested and refined statements to reflect the properties of Oobleck accurately. Students discovered that being specific mattered. They also saw how disagreement wasn’t bad, but helpful in this type of process as it helped narrow our descriptions. The students stayed involved in this for about 45 minutes! I was so impressed that they stuck with it! Testing our statements using the Oobleck, while defining each law, helped keep interest going. Here’s the list we created...
The students then moved into the next phase of our analysis, which is to design a spacecraft that is able to land on an ocean of Oobleck without sinking, explore the moon, and take off again without getting stuck, with all passengers safely aboard. They began their initial designs on paper.
We will begin next week with completing the designs and sharing them. Once their spacecrafts satisfy the requirements and account for the Laws of Oobleck they will make a model using many items they discussed at the end of class. Please remind them to bring in some of the items they mentioned. Here are some we came up with:
If you have any of these items, or anything else your child comes up with, can you please let me know via e-mail? (firstname.lastname@example.org) That way I’ll know what supplies I should bring in next week.
I’ve been so impressed by the observations and scientific thinking the students have shared in class. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next week!
“The most exciting phrase in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not
‘Eureka’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny…’”
- Isaac Asimov, author