Overall, my POE (Predict Observe Explain) science experiment went well. It worked well that I explained a little bit about my experiment and then asked my classmates viewing my booth to actually guess if paperclips floated or not. After the questions, I got them to try to make the paperclips float in the water by following the instructions for the experiment on my board. Some of my classmates were able to complete the experiment easily, but some needed a little bit more prompting to complete the experiment. As I was explaining my POE to my classmates, I found out that some of them actually thought that paperclips floated and were buoyant. Some classmates even thought that paperclips would float because it was lighter than the water. I think I must have mislead them because they saw pictures of paperclips “floating” on my presentation, but they did not know the science behind the experiment, so they assumed that paperclips would float. I think that most of the people that came to my experiment did not have a lot of prior knowledge of surface tension and that was possibly the reason for their assumptions that paperclips could float on water. Once my classmates were done the experiment, they asked what the science was behind it. It must have seemed too simple for them, but really this experiment is quite interesting because water has a high enough surface tension to hold up objects that are denser and heavier than itself like paperclips.
I think that POE experiments need to have relevant explorations or inquiry after them because there are always more questions that students are going to have about the topic. Students will want to know why and how the experiment worked and they will also want to dig deeper than what was just presented in front of them. They will also want to know if surface tension is the same with other objects or other sizes of paperclips. They will want to investigate further to see if floating paperclips is possible in other liquids or other sizes of bowls. Hopefully students will also want to learn more about the properties in this experiment that made it possible. Hopefully, they will want to know more about buoyancy, forces on objects in fluids, surface tension, density, and even water striders.
After this POE was introduced into a classroom a teacher could discuss many different things with their students. They could go into more detail where one could see surface tension at work. For example, you can see surface tension at work when you see a droplet of water hanging off of a leaf or tree. The surface tension of the water is keeping the water molecules all held tightly together until there is too much water on the tree or leaf that the water droplet will drop. Another discussion that could be talked abut with a group of students, would be to ask them if society has taken advantage of water surface tension or if it is just simply too small of a topic to do anything with. I believe that there is not a lot one can do with surface tension, but it is neat to know that it exists. Probably almost everything that we own would be too big or too dense to take advantage of water surface tension. But it would be beneficial to talk about what the benefits of surface tension are to water striders. There would be more to talk about how it benefits water striders than how it benefits humans. As a future educator, you could also try connecting these ideas to indigenous ways of living in nature and how we need to make sure we do not abuse nature or the water that we do have. We should teach this because if water is polluted, surface tension may not work. Therefore, water striders would not be able to stride across the water if the water’s surface tension had been tampered with. This would be great to tie into a lesson where you would talk about respecting the environment that we live in.