Last week, students were tasked with the focus question:

“What are some possible solids we could find outside that would make a solution if we added water?” The students brainstormed in their science groups about some possibilities and then had a chance to find the solids.

Today, we continued our exploration about solutions, as our focus question was:

“How can we test if our solids we found outside form a solution?”

Using their background knowledge about mixtures and solutions, the students planned with their groups the steps that they would take to test their solutions.

Next, the students wrote a hypothesis, stating what they thought would be the outcome and why.

Lastly, the students conducted their experiements, using the steps that they created with their groups. They made note to make observations and keep evidence throughout their experiment.

Below are some pictures of their investigations today!

Solutions: Where does the solid material go?

In science today, we began to deepen our understanding of mixtures and solutions. We started off comparing mixtures and solutions, realizing that a solution is a mixture where the solid material dissolves. This lead us to our focus question for the lesson, which was “Where does the solid material go when it dissolves in a solution?”

To figure this out, we started by thinking about the claim, “I think that when the salt dissolves, it leaves the water.” The students discussed whether they agreed or disagreed with this claim and why, pulling on their background knowledge about salt water, evaporation and even our field trip to Lantau where we found evaporated salt in the salt water marsh.

Students then began to discuss how we may be able to answer our focus question. We ended up breaking our steps down into the following:

  1. fill a cup with 50 ml of water
  2. use the equal arm balance to weigh the water (after calibrating the equal arm balance!)
  3. add a “scoop” of salt
  4. weigh the salt water solution

We then discussed what our results would tell us about our focus question. If the salt had weight, then it didn’t just “go away” when it dissolves. We found that the salt weighed 3 grams. To be sure that none of the salt had just left the water when it dissolved, we weighed the scoop of salt on its own to find that it weighed exactly 3 grams.

As we move forward, we will continue to work on understanding exactly what is happening when the salt dissolves in the water.

Mixtures and Solutions

Today, we started our mixtures and solutions science unit. This is an exciting unit, where we explore how different substances interact. We started off today by exploring and observing the properties of three solids; gravel, powder and salt. Below are pictures of the students making their observations. Next week, we will add water to our solids to observe how each different substance changes.

Visiting Author: David Schwartz

SIS is lucky enough to have David Schwartz visiting us for a couple of days to share his joy of reading and writing, mixed with math and science. Below are some pictures of his visit with 4th and 5th grade this morning. He shared with us a lot of the inspirations that he got for the stories he’s written. Such as the time when he was a kid watching frogs hop, and he started to wonder how far frogs can jump compared to the size of their body. After doing some hands on investigation, he found that frogs jump about 20 times longer than their body, and that if he could jump as far as a frog, he would jump 90 feet.

Food Chains

We have been exploring the different systems on Earth, mainly focusing on the biosphere. We have started to explore the relationships that different organisms have with one another in the woods ecosystem. Using ecosystem cards, students created different food chains within the ecosystem, making note of how the energy was shifting.JPEG image-4E9FB8E42265-1

Mixtures and Solutions

We started our new science unit this week, Mixtures and Solutions. We began by exploring what mixtures and solutions are, and discussing how they are similar and different. Students created three water mixtures, by adding pebbles, salt and diatomaceous earth to cups with water. They then tried to separate the mixtures, using screens and filters. They found that they were able to separate the pebbles with the screen and the diatomaceous earth with the filters, but the salt didn’t separate. This is because the salt dissolved and became a solution. Below are some pictures of their investigations.


Students have been using the scientific method to help conduct controlled experiments. Today, we began exploring about evaporation. Using their knowledge of controlled experiments, they planned an experiment to test where water goes when it evaporates. They identified the independent, dependent and control variables to help ensure that they had created a controlled experiment. Afterward, they used their background knowledge to make a hypothesis about their experiment. Tomorrow, students will check their results and reflect on their observations, as well as the validity of their results. PhotoGrid_1453098923334.jpg

Water Planet Vocabulary

We started our new science unit today called “Water Planet.” To get students familiar with some of the vocabulary words of our first investigation, the students got into groups and sorted the words based on meaning. For words they weren’t sure about, they looked up the definition. They then had to explain why they thought that the words were related and drew pictures for each word. PhotoGrid_1448868454199.jpg

How do vascular plants get water to cells?

After learning about the different systems of the human body, students have begun to explore vascular plants, and the systems in place to help them survive. Using background knowledge about the systems of the human body, and what they already know about plants, students created a hypothesis as to what would happen to water with red dye, when the celery is placed in it.