WAKARUSA, Ind. (WNDU) The NorthWood Middle School students watched as the bright yellow balloon grew from the lab flask as the heated water bubbled below.
“The gas molecules will rapidly move and fill the balloon,” explained 8th grader Preston Roa.
The balloon exploded, much to the delight of the lab partners.
Roa and his classmates enjoy these types of hands-on science experiments.
No matter the research, they're learning how to collect data and analyze the results. But, they have to do it the old fashioned way.
“Obviously this is kind of a makeshift thing we have to put together to measure how much oxygen was produced,” said student Treyton Martin as he explained a different experiment using a syringe to collect the byproduct, oxygen.
Teacher Samantha Willsey applied for Martin's Super Markets' “One School at a Time” grant. They plan to use the money to purchase wireless temperature probes and gas pressure sensors.
“I would have to save up,” said Willsey, noting that it would take “10-20 years before I could afford that kind of technology.”
“So using the gas pressure sensors that would definitely help not only to get more accurate results, but it would automatically graph the data on our tablets,” said Martin. “We then would get more time to analyze and interpret the graphs which means we could really understand what was going on in the reaction.”
The timing is perfect. The students will soon be outfitted with computers that they can use with all of their science experiments. All of NorthWoods’s K through 12 students are receiving personal tablets. It’s going to make science so much easier.
“It's always important to have it more precise -- we can't just assume things,” said Roa. “We'll just have a better understanding of the numbers.”
That makes his teacher very happy.
“Guys, what's my goal for you by the end of the year?” asked Willsey.
“To be better thinkers,” the kids answered enthusiastically.
“I want them to think. Just gathering data from a thermometer doesn't require thought. Analyzing and interpreting that graph is what requires them to think.”
If you'd like to nominate your school for a One School at a Time grant, just fill out an application online.
The winning school gets $1,000 from Martin's Super Markets, and a new winner is picked each month. Schools only need to apply once, and you can do so by going to michianaschools.com.