Science is not just a body of knowledge. Science is also a process of investigation. It is concerned with finding out about the world in a systematic way.
An important part of science education provides students with the processes and skills required to investigate and acquire knowledge about themselves and their environment.
The investigation process includes:

  • Observing
  • Proposing explanations
  • Predicting outcomes
  • Testing predictions
  • Modifying understandings
  • Making predictions supported by testing
  • Explaining and applying understandings

Simple Experiment: Air Taking Up Space

What is air? What are its’ characteristics?
Using this simple experiment, we investigated an interesting characteristic of air.
You will need a funnel; empty bottle; balloon, masking tape, rubber band, water.


{Observe, Predict Outcomes, Test Predictions}
Put the funnel into the mouth of the bottle and before pouring water into the funnel, let children predict what will happen when they pour water into the funnel. (N & M predicted that the water will flow into the bottle).
Pour the water into the funnel and observe, the water flows into the bottle.
{Observe, Predict Outcome, Test Predictions}
Now, secure the funnel onto the bottle so there is no space between the two.
I found it very difficult to seal up the bottle. I tried using some clay at first, but that failed miserably. In the end I had to stretch a balloon over the top of the bottle; cut a tiny hole in the stretched balloon to put the funnel into; put the funnel on top of the bottle through that tiny hole; tape the funnel onto the bottle with masking tape and secure the funnel to the bottle again with a very large elastic band.
Before pouring water into the funnel and now sealed bottle, let children predict what will happen when they pour water into the funnel. (N & M predicted that the water will flow into the bottle, as it had done before the bottle was sealed).
Test predictions by pouring water into the funnel and now sealed up bottle.
Observe that the water remains in the funnel does not flow into the bottle. (N & M exclaimed, “The water is stuck!” . Using their fingers, they even tried to push the water into the bottle, but the water still didn’t go into the bottle.)

{Propose Explanations}
Let children propose why the water has remained in the funnel instead of flowing into the (sealed) bottle.
Discuss what has changed; the bottle has been sealed off so things can’t get out.
Now that the bottle is sealed, air can’t get out. Water can’t get into the bottle because it’s already full of air. Before we sealed up the bottle, air could easily get out of the bottle and make space for the water poured in through the funnel.
{Modify Understandings}
Although we can’t see air, we know it’s there and it takes up space.

N & M: 4 years, 1 month


Lessons Learnt Journal


About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.

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