As part of the Chemistry 30 class that I am teaching for internship, I had my students do POE’s. POE stands for Predict, Observe, Explain (see the lesson under my “Lesson Plans” page). My students choose simple experiments that they may have done as kids, for example, the paper cup and string telephone. They had to learn the science behind these experiments and really dive into why these science experiments do what they do. For example, the paper cup telephone works because sound waves can travel along the string, and the shape of the cup projects the sound.
I think the best part of the POE fair was that my grade nine science classes got to do the POE’s with the grade 12’s and the grade 9’s aided in peer evaluations. The grade 12’s would follow the POE model by telling the grade 9’s what they were going to do and having them make predictions. Then, they would do the experiment and ask them to participate by making observations. Finally, the grade 12’s would have a series of questions to help the grade 9’s get to the explanation by them selves. It was pretty great to see the level of engagement by both groups of students.
If I was to do this again, I would try to book a bigger space in the school, like the gym, because then other classes that were not involved could have come down to see all the POE’s. We chose to take over the third floor of the building as most of those classrooms where not being used during the period that we decided to do this. We had POE’s spread out between four different classrooms and the hallway. It became slightly chaotic when teachers unexpectedly began to bring their classes down to see what was going on. But as one teacher said, “learning is sometimes chaotic”.
I also would have booked more time for it to happen. We arranged it so that we could make sure it would be done in one hour, at this point we had already pulled many kids out of many different classes, so we didn’t want to cause any more of a wave. But after we saw the learning that happened, it would have been worth it to do it for a whole afternoon, and invite any teachers who wanted to bring their classes down to see it.
Here are some pictures of the fair: