Talking about Physics Together

October has been an exhausting month for our Leadership Fellows as they prepared for their grueling mid-term examinations.  Some of this preparation was in ALF, and much was at home, with students staying up into the early hours of the morning to prepare for exams with difficult, detailed (perhaps even pedantic) content.  What a relief that almost all our students’ exams are over, and we are able to be together for a week of thinking and learning before the Diwali holiday.

In Science, we looked at some basic scientific principles that will set us up for exploring Floating and Sinking, and Sound–two chapters coming up in the next semester.

Girls opened a Google Doc and found instructions for performing three straightforward but somewhat mystifying experiments.  They then had to carry out the experiments and come up with explanations in pairs, and then write their explanations into a shared Google Doc.

First, girls had to investigate the Cartesian Diver.

Divya and Alisha figure out how the Cartesian Diver works
Divya and Alisha figure out how the Cartesian Diver works

They soon worked out that applying pressure causes the “dive”, and began to talk through ideas of why that might be.  Some knowledge of density from a previous chapter, and a few pertinent questions from their teachers helped them along the way!

Next, girls looked at whether oranges sink or float….

Why do unpeeled oranges float and peeled oranges sink?
Why do unpeeled oranges float and peeled oranges sink?
Sweety and Rosbin discuss their observations and hypothesis before adding to their Google Doc.
Sweety and Rosbin discuss their observations and hypothesis before adding to their Google Doc.

Finally, girls had to hold a balloon to their ear and consider any changes in hearing.  They found that sounds were amplified when a balloon was pressed against their ear; but why?

Rosbin and Sweety discuss why the balloon was able to amplify sounds.
Rosbin and Sweety discuss why the balloon was able to amplify sounds.

During this lesson girls put their thoughts into their Google Docs, and at the end, shared them with each other and with their teachers. Now their teachers will respond to individual theories and explanations, and next lesson, girls will be able to go into each other’s Google Docs to comment on their friends’ theories.  This is one small way in which we’re using our new laptops for some new ways of learning!

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