? title : Great Moments in Science : Experiments and Readers Theatre author : Haven, Kendall F. publisher : Libraries Unlimited isbn10 | asin : 1563083558
print isbn13 : 9781563083556 ebook isbn13 : 9780585259406 language : English subject ? Discoveries in science--History, Science--History. publicationdate : 1996 lcc : Q180.55.D57H35 1996eb ddc : 509 subject : Discoveries in science--History, Science--History.
Page iii Great Moments in Science Experiments and Readers Theatre Kendall Haven 1996
Teacher Ideas Press
A Division of
Libraries Unlimited, Inc. Englewood, Colorado
Copyright ? 1996 Kendall Haven
All Rights Reserved Printed in the United States of America No part of this publication may bereproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior writtenpermission of the publisher. An exception is made for individual library media specialists andteachers who may make copies of activity sheets for classroom use in a single school. Otherportions of the book (up to 15 pages) may be copied for in-service programs or othereducational programs in a single school. Performances may be videotaped for school or librarypurposes.
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Production Editor: Tama Serfoss
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Page v Contents Introduction ix
Teetering at the Beginning of Knowledge Archimedes' discovery of the lever principle in 259B.C. 1 Scientific Background 1 Readers Theatre 2 Teetering at the Beginning of Knowledge 3 Related Experiments 12 Getting a Balanced View of Levers (Done in small groups) 13 How Does aLever Work? (Done in small groups) 15 The Big Picture (Done outside as a whole class activity) 16 Let's Investigate the Beam (Done outside as a whole class activity) 17 Bridges to Books 19 References for Further Reading 19
The Fall of Galileo Galileo Galilei's discovery of the law of falling objects in 1598 21 Scientific Background 21 Readers Theatre 22 The Fall of Galileo 23 Related Experiments 31 Getting into the Swing of a Pendulum (Done in small groups) 31 The Drop Test (Done in smallgroups) 33 Doing It Digitally (Done in small groups) 34 The Big Picture (Done in small groups) 35 Bridges to Books 36 References for Further Reading 36
A Weighty Matter Evangelista Torricelli's discovery of air pressure in 1642 39 ScientificBackground 39 Readers Theatre 40 A Weighty Matter 41
Page vi A Weighty Matter (Continued) Related Experiments 49 Getting Pumped Up About Vacuums(Done in small groups) 49 The Strength of Air Pressure 50 Mega-Pump 51 Building a BetterBarometer 51 Bridges to Books 54 References for Further Reading 54
Apples, Moons, and Questions Isaac Newton's discovery of the principle of gravity in 1666 55 Scientific Background 55 Readers Theatre 56 Apples, Moons, and Questions 57 Related Experiments
66 Making the Moon Fall 66 Bridges to Books 70 References for Further Reading 7 A Spark of Genius Benjamin Franklin's discovery of the nature of electricity in 1750 73 Scientific Background 73 Readers Theatre 74 A Spark of Genius 75 Related Experiments 84 Getting a Charge Out of Static (Done as a whole class project) 84 A Leyden Jar Without the Jar(Done in small groups) 86 Bridges to Books 88 References for Further Reading 88 Friction in the Facotory Count Rumford's discovery of the nature of heat in 1791 91 ScientificBackground 91 Readers Theatre 92 Friction in the Factory 93 Related Experiments 104 The Hot andCold of Heat Flow 104 The Rub of Friction 105 All Shook Up 106 Bridges to Books 108 Referencesfor Further Reading 108
A Gold Medal Speck of Light Maria Mitchell's discovery of a comet in 1847 109 ScientificBackground 109 Readers Theatre 110 A Gold Medal Speck of Light 111 Related Experiments 120 Your Own Sextant to the Stars 120 Tracking the Stars 123 Bridges to Books 126 References forFurther Reading 126
Spontaneous War Louis Pasteur's discovery of microorganisms in 1858 129 Scientific Background 129 Readers Theatre 130 Spontaneous War 131 Related Experiments 143 Making Happy Mold 143 Bridges to Books 146 References for Further Reading 146
Green Pea, Yellow Pea Gregor Mendel's formulation of the theory of heredity in 1865 149 Scientific Background 149 Readers Theatre 150 Green Pea, Yellow Pea 151 Related Experiments 160
A Look at Your Past 160 The Dominant Probability 161 Bridges to Books 164 References for
Further Reading 164
Launching a Scientist Robert Goddard's attempts to develop a rocket in 1888 167 ScientificBackground 167 Readers Theatre 168 Launching a Scientist 169 Related Experiments 178 Why Do YouNeed Lift? 178 Giving Yourself a Lift 180 Balloon Magic 181 Bridges to Books 184 References forFurther Reading 184
A Glowing Discovery Marie Curie's discovery of radioactivity in 1897-1901 187 ScientificBackground 187 Readers Theatre 188 A Glowing Discovery 189 Related Experiments 200 Prospectingfor Hidden Treasure 201 Bridges to Books 205 References for Further Reading 205 A Crystal-Clear View of Science Dorothy Hodgkin's discovery of the composition of penicillin in1943 207 Scientific Background 207 Readers Theatre 208 A Crystal-Clear View of Science 209 Related Experiments 217 Name That Shadow 217 Bridges to Books 220 References for FurtherReading 220 Index 221 About the Author 227
Page ix Introduction Science seems to evoke a strong personal reaction from every student. Forsome, that reaction is positive. Science seems creative, important, and challenging. Itexplains what they see in the world around them. For many students, science is not such apositive experience. For them, science seems an unintelligible jumble of cryptic equations. Itseems an endless list of rote memorization, a crushing series of mindless and boringrepetitions. It appears a cold and impersonal world of unyielding dictates and seeminglyarbitrary absolutes. While a grain of truth lies buried at the core of each of these reactions,none conveys even a hint of the majesty and wonder of the world of science. Recently, a re-energized trend has spread across the world of science teaching. Make science interesting. Makescience fun. Make it real. Make it relevant. The response has been to infuse science classeswith as many student experiments as possible, both to cut up the dry, rote book learning ofclassic science with hands-on activities and to demonstrate science concepts and make them realfor students through active participation in the learning process. It is certainly true thatexperiments make abstract concepts seem real, tangible, and much more interesting. Bothresearch and teacher experience confirm this. But more can be done. Experiments demonstrate theapplication of a concept. However, experiments do not create context, perspective, andrelevance for those concepts and theorems. Experiments alone cannot connect abstract conceptswith the flow of human drama and history and with human science development. Stories do that. Stories, in their many forms, are the sparks that fire the imagination into eager, motivatedlearning. Stories are the anchors that keep science fact and information from drifting free andunattached in our minds, that lock them into an overall conceptual framework, and that givethem relevance. Turn students loose on a science experiment or research project after they havebeen armed with an effective story about the development and significance of that particularscience, and you will have focused, enthusiastic, motivated learners. What they learn will begrounded in a context of relevant people and events. Isolated information is no longerabstract. Learning is more rapid and more usable. Both research and teacher experience confirmthis.
Page x This book combines these two powerful and effective tools for the teaching of science:stories to create context and relevance, and experiments to make it real and tangible. Both arepresented in total "hands-on" format to make science interesting and immediate. The book, then,is a series of stories presented in readers theatre script format so that students may benefitfrom participation in the telling of the story as well as from its content. Each story islinked with hands-on student experiments to amplify, demonstrate, and clarify the story'sscience concepts. I selected 12 moments in the development of Western science from the 50science stories in the book Marvels of Science: 50 Fascinating 5-Minute Reads and have
created readers theatre scripts for each. Following the scripts are step-by-step instructionsto re-create, or at least simulate, the experiments the original scientists performed. Finally,I have included two sections at the end of each of the 12 stories and experiments designed asspringboards to facilitate further student research on either the scientists or major topics.One of these is a brief bibliography of solid references. The other, called "Bridges to Books,"supplies students with key words and concepts to act as pathways for entering a library'sresources to continue the investigation of each set of scientists and concepts. My selection ofthe scientists and stories for this book was based on a cumulative evaluation of threecriteria: 1) Is the science and scientist important and relevant to classroom teaching? 2) Isthis an interesting story and will it work well in readers theatre form? and 3) Are the relatedexperiments affordable, do-able, and interesting for fourth- through ninth-grade students in apublic school classroom? From those fulfilling these criteria, I selected the final dozen toinclude a wide mix of disciplines and achieve a representative gender balance. Each of thescientists represented here is a dynamic, fascinating individual who has significantly advancedour understanding of the natural world. Readers Theatre Scripts Readers theatre scripts aredesigned to be read aloud by students, using expressive language and phrasing. They are notdesigned to be play scripts, which are memorized and acted out by the performers. Readers maywant to practice reading the scripts so that they can do so smoothly and with characterizationand emotion, but they shouldn't attempt to memorize their lines. Each readers theatre scriptprovides four to six roles. Directorial suggestions on how best to deliver many of the linesare included in italics. However, once students are familiar with the roles, they may choose tovary the method of their readings. At the beginning of each script I have included a stagingdiagram that will place student readers so their script conversations will flow most naturally,and where audience focus can most easily be maintained on the lead characters. I find thatstanding helps student readers project and stay focused on the lead characters. But certainlythere are no firm rules against having them sit on stools or even chairs. Movements on stageadd little to the readers theatre presentation and will almost always distract the audience'sattention away from their visualization of the story scenes. Look at readers theatre as liveradio drama, and let the actions take place in the imagination of your audience.
Page xi I also find that props and costumes are neither necessary nor, in most cases,beneficial to a readers theatre production. Readers often need both hands to keep track oftheir script, and handling props and costumes gets in their way and distracts them from theirreal mission: effective vocal delivery of their lines. Similarly, props and costumes tend topull the audience out of the story being presented. If props seem to be called for by theaction of the script, I recommend that students simply pretend to hold and use reports,
sextants, pumps, and other equipment. This will keep everyone focused on the story rather thanon the individual antics of the readers. If you have period scientific equipment or costumesand feel student exposure to them would enhance your production, I recommend that students beallowed to see, touch, and handle those props before you begin the readers theatre. Yourstudents should act out the readers theatre script before they tackle the experiments. Thestory will create context and relevance for their learning during the experiment and give itincreased meaning and significance. Experiments There are three main purposes for scienceexperiments in the classroom. The first is to entertain and impress: a goal that should not beeither ignored or overrated. I have heard teachers call this the "Wow!" or the "Yuck!" factor.
In recent years, the "Yuck!'' factor seems to be more sought after and laudable than the''Wow!" factor. Both, however, use an experiment to impress and entertain, which an experimentshould do, but not exclusively. The second goal of an experiment is to reinforce and extendlearning, to demonstrate a science concept or principle, and to show its application. This isusually the purpose used to justify taking class time to conduct an experiment in the firstplace. Certainly any experiment worth its salt will be designed to have a high probability ofachieving this goal. The final goal is to demonstrate the actual process of conductingscientific investigation. Every real experiment is a painstaking search for possible error;misinterpretation; and for factors, forces, or reactions that were not anticipated, controlled,and accounted for. Part of showing that changes in A cause changes in B is showing that nothingelse is affecting B other than changes in A. Science is, in part, a perpetual repetition of thequestions, "What haven't I considered? What haven't I accounted for? What could have gonewrong?" Once students understand that these questions are not hindrances on the path of sciencebut are really a cornerstone of that process, they are much more willing to incorporate theminto their experiments. A science experiment, like an intriguing Sherlock Holmes mystery case,is a search for clues about what is really going on and why the elements of an experiment actas they do. Each clue leads to a new design of the experiment to eliminate or control anotherunwanted factor. The end goal of an experiment is not to say, "I have seen that changes in Acause changes in B." Rather, it is to say, "My experiments have shown me that B is affected bymany things, including these factors I have identified and tried to control: A, C, D, E, F, andG. After adjusting my experiment to control all other factors, I have seen that a change in Aof amount a produces a change in B of
Page xii amount b ." That kind of understanding comes from a rigorous use of the scientificprocess, or from the perpetual search for why what's actually happening isn't what youoriginally thought was supposed to happen. While straightforward and simple to direct andperform, the experiments in this book have been specifically constructed to allow studentsnumerous opportunities to investigate the sources of error and misinterpretation thatinvariably creep into their work and to then revise the design, conduct, and materials of theexperiment to improve their results. I am convinced this is a valuable and vital element in anyscience teaching. Of course, all experiments should be supervised by the teacher, and safetyguidelines and precautions should be addressed before any experiment is begun. Above all,infuse your class's use of this material with joy and curiosity. There can be no greater toolsfor successful exploration of science. Also remember that these are not the only 12 scientistsand concepts worthy of this type of treatment. Adapt, modify, augment, and improve theseexperiments. Create your own scripts and experiments for other researchers. Share them withcolleagues. Remember always that science is a world of understanding and passion. Understandingcomes from guided experimentation. Passion comes from stories. I owe particular thanks for thesuccessful completion of this work to Dr. Nelson Kellogg, Sonoma State University HutchinsSchool of Liberal Studies. He has become a valued friend and an invaluable guide to proven,practical information for many of the chosen experiments. This book would not exist without hisgenerous help, guidance, and fertile imagination. Enjoy and good luck!
Teetering at the Beginning of Knowledge: Archimedes' discovery of the lever principle in 259B.C. Scientific Background Can you lift 1,000 pounds? No? Actually you can. Lifting isn't amatter of strength. It is a matter of understanding. Today we might think of the problem of howto lift a 1,000-pound weight as an interesting scientific and engineering challenge. However,in the earliest days of scientific development, it would not have been considered a scienceproblem at all. Early man studied stars as his first scientific endeavor. By 300 B.C. the studyof geometry had been added as a second, legitimate scientific field, mostly because of the workof Euclid. Geometry consisted of a study of shapes and their relationships to each other.
Science, however, was still very separate from engineering, agriculture, medicine,architecture, and daily life. No one tried to link science with engineering. No one either saw,or was looking for, the connection. Then Archimedes sat on a hillside ignoring his teacher'slecture and watched four boys playing on the beach. In the mind of this brilliant man, suddenlythe connection was made, and our world of science was able to advance.
Page 2 Readers Theatre Characters Narrator Archimedes. Archimedes is 26 years old. He's
thoughtful, inquisitive, and serious. He's a student of Conon. Conon. Conon is a famous teacherand scientist. At 42 years old, he's short-tempered and demanding. Palomenes. Palomenes is a19-year-old, good-natured man who loves to laugh. He is also a student of Conon, but he is notnearly as serious as Archimedes. Child 1. Nine or 10 years old, playing on the beach. Child 2.Nine or 10 years old, playing on the beach. Sonyah. Archimedes' six-year-old niece. Staging
Figure?1.1. Suggested?placement?of?readers?for? Teetering?at?the?Beginning?of?Knowledge. From
Great Moments in Science: Experiments and Readers Theatre. ? 1996. Teacher Ideas Press. (800)
Page 3 Teetering at the Beginning of Knowledge
NARRATOR:Gentle waves rolled across the Mediterranean Sea and ran up a sandy Sicilian shore. Afierce summer sun poured heat onto the proud island nation of Sicily. Hiero II was king.Syracuse, the largest city, was a bustling center of commerce. By our reckoning, it was 259B.C.
CONON:Earth, the Sun, and the great multitude of stars beyond: these are the bodies thatinhabit the universe.
NARRATOR:Four men sat on a small knoll overlooking the sea and the south end of SyracuseHarbor. One of the men, Conon, was a famous science teacher. The other three were his students.All four squatted under scrub olive trees for shade. PALOMENES: ( Complaining softly to
) It's too hot to study, Archimedes. Tell Conon it's a better day for a swim. ARCHIMEDES: (
) What? ( Louder and faster ) The stars all rotate across the sky in fixed relation .?.?. to.?.?. each .?.?. CONON: ( Angry and sarcastic
) Yes, Archimedes? Is there something you wanted to say? ARCHIMEDES: ( Embarrassed
) I .?.?. No. Sorry, Conon. PALOMENES: ( Softly
) You're supposed to say it's too hot to study.
CONON: If any of you hope to lift yourselves up from ignorant fools, you must study every
dayespecially you, Palomenes.
ARCHIMEDES: But the stars are all so far away. Besides, during the day I see no stars to study.( Softer and just to Palomenes ) On a day like this day, astronomy is boring. ( PALOMENES
laughs . CONON raises his eyebrows and glares at his red-faced students. ) From Great Moments
1996. Teacher Ideas Press. (800) 237-6124.in Science: Experiments and Readers Theatre. ?
CONON:Archimedes, you are a nephew of the King and are here to study the only two worthwhilesciences: astronomy and geometry.
NARRATOR: But Archimedes couldn't concentrate on his teacher's words of astronomy. In themiddle of a blisteringly hot day, it didn't seem real. As Archimedes wiped the sweat from hisface, what did seem both real and fascinating was a group of four boys playing on the beachbelow. CHILD 1: ( Excited
) Look! A decking plank from some old ship to play with. CHILD 2: ( Excited
) Drag it over to that rock.
NARRATOR:Laughing and dashing along the soft white beach, kicking up sprays of sand on eachsharp turn, the boys dragged the board to a waist-high rock.
CHILD 1:Balance it on the rock.
CHILD 2:I'll get on. You three bounce me!
NARRATOR:They slid their board across that rock until it exactly balanced, teetering gently upand down in the onshore breeze. As sea gulls circled overhead, one child straddled one end ofthe board.
CHILD 1:Here we come. One, two, three. Go!
NARRATOR:The child's three friends jumped hard onto the other end. The lone child was tossedinto the air, crashing down to the sand with a soft thud and a cheer.
CHILDREN:YEAH! From Great Moments in Science: Experiments and Readers Theatre . ? 1996.
Teacher Ideas Press. (800) 237-6124.
CHILD 1:Now it's my turn. Slide the board way off-center. Then I'll lift all three of you. NARRATOR:The children slid the board along their balancing rock so that only one quarter of itremained on the short side. The longer, heavier side dropped to the sand with a dull thud.Giggling, three of the children climbed up the slick, inclined board to sit on the short, topend.
NARRATOR:With the weight of three children, the plank's short end swung slowly down to thebeach.
CHILD 1:Here I come!
NARRATOR:At the last moment the fourth child bounded onto the rising long end, crashing it backto the sand, and catapulting his three friends into the sky. All three squealed with glee. Twolaughed so hard they fell off.
CHILDREN:YEAH! ARCHIMEDES: ( To himself
) Fascinating! The first time it took three children to lift one. But now one easily liftsthree.
NARRATOR:The children saw an old, weather-beaten board to play with. Archimedes thought he sawEuclid's mathematics at work. ARCHIMEDES: ( Thoughtfully to himself
) But how? How does an old plank of wood give one child the strength to lift three? This seemsfar more real to me than stars I can't see. I must understand what just happened on the beach. CONON:Archimedes! Are my classes so boring that you can't pay attention? Maybe you'd ratherplay on the beach like a child! PALOMENES: ( Laughing
) Now you've done it, Archimedes. From Great Moments in Science: Experiments and Readers
. ? 1996. Teacher Ideas Press. (800) 237-6124.Theatre
Page 6 ARCHIMEDES: ( Embarrassed
) I'm sorry, Conon. PALOMENES: ( Still laughing
) You were supposed to say it's too hot to study. CONON: ( Sternly
) Do not waste your time on the games of children, Archimedes. The King expects you to learnthe worthwhile sciences.
ARCHIMEDES:But Conon, isn't it worthwhile science to ask how one ordinary child is able to lifta weight greater than himself?
CONON:No! Lifting is for servants, and has nothing to do with science. Now pay attention toyour classes!
NARRATOR:But Archimedes couldn't concentrate on astronomy. ARCHIMEDES: ( To himself
) I must understand how that board gave one child such strength.
NARRATOR:Walking slowly home, head bowed, hands clasped behind his back, Archimedes was lostdeep in thought.
ARCHIMEDES:Euclid studied ratios and proportions. The answer lies there, somehow. But how do Ifind it?
NARRATOR:Suddenly the eager student brightened. ARCHIMEDES: ( Excited
) I'll experiment! That's what Euclid did.
NARRATOR:Archimedes rushed to the sprawling family home.
ARCHIMEDES:But what can I use for my experiment? From Great Moments in Science: Experiments
. ? 1996. Teacher Ideas Press. (800) 237-6124.and Readers Theatre
NARRATOR:Archimedes rummaged frantically through the house until he reached the room of hissix-year-old niece.
ARCHIMEDES:Ah! Sonyah's play blocks will be perfect!
NARRATOR:Archimedes clawed through Sonyah's wide box of blocks, gathering ones he liked in hislap, tossing the others over his shoulder onto the floor.
ARCHIMEDES:Good one .?.?. Too small .?.?. Too big .?.?. Wrong shape .?.?. Perfect .?.?. Toolong .?.?.
NARRATOR:He now held five blocks in his handstwo small cubes and one larger, one rectangularblock about the same size as all three cubes combined, and one triangular-shaped prism to actas the balancing point.
ARCHIMEDES:And now to find my board to balance them on.
NARRATOR:Behind the house he found a thin strip of wood about 15 inches long to act as hislever. Archimedes called his balancing board a "lever," from the Latin word meaning "to lift." ARCHIMEDES: ( Excitedly
) Now the experiment. And from the experiment will come understanding. NARRATOR: ( In hushed,
) He placed the prism on a table and carefully balanced his lever across it. His curling brownbeard touched the table top as he picked up the two small cubes, one in each strong hand, andleaned close to watch. SONYAH: ( Loudly
) What are you doing playing with my blocks?
NARRATOR:Surprised and embarrassed, Archimedes snapped straight up, knocking his lever to thefloor.
ARCHIMEDES:I'm not playing. This is a science experiment. From Great Moments in Science:
. ? 1996. Teacher Ideas Press. (800) 237-6124.Experiments and Readers Theatre
SONYAH: Looks like you're playing.
ARCHIMEDES:When you play very carefully, it's an experiment.
SONYAH:Can I play, too?
ARCHIMEDES: I'm not playing. And, no, you' re too young to help. SONYAH: ( Growing angry
) They're my blocks. ARCHIMEDES: ( Sighing
) All right, Sonyah. You can be my assistant.
SONYAH:Yea! What are we playing? ARCHIMEDES: ( Exploding in frustration
) We're NOT playing! This is science. First pick up that piece of wood.
NARRATOR:Again, Archimedes placed the middle of his lever on the point of his niece'striangular prism. It balanced. On each end of this board he placed one of the small cubes. Thewhole thing balanced like two children on a teeter-totter, rocking slightly up and down. ARCHIMEDES: ( Thoughtfully
) Now what does this teach me? SONYAH: ( Hopefully
) That this is a boring game so far?
NARRATOR:Archimedes stared at his balancing cubes, thoughtfully stroking his beard. ARCHIMEDES: ( Growing excited
) It teaches me that equal weights pushing down on equal lengths of board balance each other.Good. What did the boys do next? Ah, yes. Three on one side; one on the other. From Great
. ? 1996. Teacher Ideas Press. (800) 237-Moments in Science: Experiments and Readers Theatre
NARRATOR:Archimedes picked up the large cube to represent the weight of the extra two boys. Heheld it over one of the balanced cubes. SONYAH: ( Grumbling
) When are we going to play something fun?
ARCHIMEDES: Shhh, Sonyah! This is an important experiment, and it is fun. SONYAH: ( Whining
) No, it's not.
NARRATOR:Archimedes dropped the large cube. It crashed down onto the lever smashing that end tothe table. The other end shot up. The small cube on it flew into the air. Archimedes' niecegiggled. SONYAH: ( Laughing
) That was fun. Let's do that part again.
NARRATOR:Archimedes ignored his niece and thoughtfully stroked his beard.
ARCHIMEDES: What does that teach me? That when unequal weights push down on equal-lengthboards, the heavier weight goes down, and the lighter one rises.
NARRATOR:Archimedes smiled and clapped his hands.
ARCHIMEDES:Learning is such a wonderful thing! Now, I wonder if I could balance the big cubewith just one of the small cubes .?.?..
SONYAH:Flip them into the air again. I like that part.
NARRATOR:Archimedes held the large cube on one end of his lever and a small cube on the other.Slowly he slid the board across the point of his triangular block until the two sides exactly