Halloween in the Lab

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Last night at Dalat school several parents of young children wanted to have something fun for kids to do as well as a chance to dress up in costumes and eat lots of unhealthy candy. It is actually a touchy issue, because this is a Christian school with a number of conservative staff members who see Halloween as a celebration of evil (since so much publicity involves witches, etc.) But we had about a dozen families with elementary kids participate.

Pictured above (left to right) is Bentley’s friend Elijah, then Bentley, Jed and his sister Lacey, and Elijah’s brother Paul. 

In my classroom, we set up a simple game suitable for young kids. I had ping pong balls and graduated cylinders set up. The older you were the smaller your graduated cylinder. The goals were two: walk around the classroom to the aquarium (which was on the floor) balancing your ping pong ball on your graduated cylinder. Once you arrived at the aquarium things got topsy turvey. Now you had to drop your ping pong ball into the aquarium then using the same graduated cylinder you had to plunge your ball to the bottom of the container and into a baby food jar. 

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It turned out to be an appropriately challenging game. Some kids (age turned out not to be as large a predictor as manual skill and experience with building. The first grade in the red headband, love Lego and build a Star Wars Lego kit in a short hour one afternoon and here he knew exactly that the cylinder had to be plumb to puch the ball down otherwise the ball bounced up to the surface and had to be replunged. Notice that Bentley here who does not have a lot of innate interest in building is trying to push his ball underneath without plumbing his cylinder.

There is always something to learn and every demonstration can be evaluted for learning outcomes I guess; Even Halloween games!

 

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