In STEM classes, students are exploring the question: what is a variable? On the math end we’re looking at variables in math equations and how we use order of operations to help us solve for these unknown values.
On the science end, things are a little…smellier. Students learned about controls and variables in scientific experiments. Every student got a banana which they carefully peeled, ate, and then stored the peel inside of a plastic bag. Each class had a control peel which they did nothing to. Each student, however, chose something to do to their peel in order to explore the question: how do banana peels change over time? The result? We had banana peels in the freezer, fridge, and cupboard. We had peels soaking in warm water, cold water, room temperature water, salt water, and hand sanitizer. We had peels that were microwaved and peels that were cut up. We had peels that taped to the inside of the window and peels that were taped to the outside window. More than anything, we had peels there were changing colors, developing new smells, and shifting in their texture. Over the course of eight days, students recorded observations as they compared their peel with its variable to the the class control peel.
After the data collection stage, students learned about the parts of a lab report as they wrote up their process and findings. That, of course, came after the very necessary clean-up the STEM classrooms required!