Particulate Studies in Middle School Science

Our Middle School science classes have been studying partiuclates, a minute portion of matter, in the air and water. Mr. Scott Werner’s eighth-grade class recently collaborated with Dr. Long’s sixth-grade class to study the particulates in the air around MVA’s campus.
Students each created sticky cards that were hung in a variety of locations around campus. Some cards hung high, others hung low to the ground and in high and low traffic areas. Students then wrote their hypotheses to predict the high/low amount of partiulates they expected to find on their cards.
Once the cards were collected, students counted the particulates found on each card with ten trials per card which were logged into a graph that all classes could access to compare and contrast their data with others. From there the discussion focused on the atmosphere and how partiulcates in air could be harmful as what is breathed in goes directly to the bloodstream.
“Students are learning about how science works through the steps of design, perform, analyze, publish, and peer review,” said Mr. Scott Werner, Middle School Science teacher. “We have followed how to set up the experiment, noting mistakes in design, paying attention to ensure the control group is intact, identifying bias, collecting and recording the data – all the critical steps to accurately analyze and assess data of the experiment. There were 10,000 points of data to collect, review and analyze, so it was a big and sometimes tedious project, that demonstrated how science is done.”
The skills students are learning in Middle School will be built upon in Upper School, growing in complexity and scope. Mr. Werner and Dr. Long are certainly doing different things in and out of their classrooms that are providing ample opportunitues for students to publicly demonstrate their understanding that are key to #CUE2.