While we are out of school due to COVID-19, we are attempting our figuring out remotely.
So we've read an article about what worms eat and even watched a video (linked below) about worms that belong to a home gardener. These data sourced have enabled us to figure out not only what they do in our Dead Plants Columns, but what happens when they've spent time significant time there!
After figuring out the role that mold is playing in our Dead Plants Columns, we had lots of figuring out to do about worms. We weren't really sure the role they were playing, so our next focus would be on worms!
Since we figured out about worms' diet and that their castings enrich the soil, we built out various mathematical models to represent what was going on. We attempted to use Google Chats to discuss each model, including their benefits and limitations in representing the phenomenon.
Mrs. Brinza attempted to use Screencastify to help the class pull various models together into a consensus model!
All this figuring out enabled us to make sense of what's been going on in our Dead Plants Columns as it relates to worms...the shrinking plant size and the darkening color were all due to the worm of worms!
This week, we remotely practiced some fair test examples with dead plants, knowing just how important a controlled experiment is in trying to figure out what is causing change to something! Here are some examples Mrs. Brinza set up in her notebook!
We read through a mold article and watched some pretty incredible mold videos, one of which was filmed right in our classroom before we left!
After engaging in a a question/response format on Google Classroom, we agreed that the stuff in our Dead Plants Columns is indeed mold! Mold is an organism that is consuming the dead plants, which totally make sense that our Dead Plants columns are getting smaller and the mold is getting bigger!
We also developed a mathematical model remotely....
Mrs. Brinza even found an interesting finding about mold in the fast food industry...a great connection to how understanding science helps understand the world around us!
This week was a tough one. In light of the COVID-19 school closure, our "figuring out" has turned into a remote, e-learning experience. I am completely aware of the access and equity issues this is presenting, and while I am trying to continue on with our Dead Raccoon unit and everything we set out to figure out, I have mixed emotions that not all of my students are having an equitable experience.
I will continue to blog here with what we're doing in hopes that those students who don't have access to what is happening over an online platform can return here to this space and see what we've done. Again, not ideal at all, but I can't think of any other way to do this knowing there are many hurdles in the way right now.
After agreeing to document the changes in our dead plants columns, we are starting to see some amazing things happening!
Appearance of Mold/Fuzzy Stuff/Other Colored Things
Size Change and Color
Worms Appearing to Get Larger and May Be Pooping?
Plant Growth (But differences between the plants)
When we sat in a scientist circle and tried to explain the causes for each of the changes in our columns, we started to realize that too many factors, or variables, could be causing the changes. This also opened up a slew of new questions regarding worms, mold, and plant growth, which we will need to address later (we added new investigation ideas like research and new plant investigations).
For this reason, we decided to run new investigations testing only ONE variable at a time. This way, we could pinpoint if that particular variable was making any change. We agreed not to test this with worms, as that wouldn't be kind to put them into closed containers without access to air. But we also had the idea to record the weight of the jars to gather any mathematical evidence for changes.
We're testing the following variables:
We've already got data in after just one day, and we're noticing the appearing of things yet the weight in the containers is remaining unchanged (or 0.1 gram b/c our scales may experiencing rounding errors). This is super interesting to us that mold can appear on our plant parts yet the weight stays the same...
We agreed we needed to focus on mold next! What exactly is it? How does it relate to dead stuff?
Building Our Dead Plant Columns--and Recording Changes through Drawings and Pictures Over Time!