Learning Science with Connetix
Tiles are an amazing STEAM resource to have both at home and at school. As a science teacher and a mom, I have seen first-hand how loved, valuable and versatile they are. Sarah Shan
We are STEAM enthusiasts and share our play and learning through our Instagram account @mylittlebrightsparks. In this blog I’ll be sharing our adventures with Connetix and how we have linked it to learning Science, which I am very passionate about.
Understanding Biological Science
One way we’ve used our rainbow Connetix is to capture and observe flowers, viewing them in natural light. To do this we pressed the flowers between tiles to encase them, which is a great way to discover the parts of a flower and pollination process up close. Using a light-box would be great to enhance observation and discovery, a way we haven’t tried yet but know would look amazing.
We have made lifecycle diagrams for a butterfly and a bird. Using a magnetic whiteboard and removable marker to add on the stages. (Note: All markers are different! Make sure to spot test removable markers first.) Children can identify the different stages before deciding which order they should be placed in.
One of our most recent activities was to create an anatomical model of the heart. We identified the different parts, observed how they fit together, and discussed each part’s amazing role in the mechanical functions of the heart. Other anatomy-related recreations you can try are the digestive system, the skeleton and the respiratory system!
We have used Connetix as platforms as a base to sort animals into differing categories. Some we’ve tried are land vs sea animals, or nocturnal vs diurnal. There are a multitude of ways you can use this set up to classify categories. Try including healthy and unhealthy foods, as well as vertebrate groups, such as fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Understanding Physical Processes
IDENTIFYING NORTH AND SOUTH POLES
Connetix contain magnets that have a North and a South pole. You can observe this when the same poles are placed near to each other and they repel, while opposites attract. You can use a bar magnet with a known North/South pole to work out which is which on the tile.
We’ve used Connetix to make refractions with both artificial and natural light and even combined them to demonstrate colour mixing of primary colours to make secondary colours. Refractions occur when a wave of light passes through different mediums or objects, the speed of this wave changes which causes the direction to change. As light travels from the air through the tile, it’s bent as the density of the two mediums are different. This creates a coloured image on a surface.
We’ve enjoyed looking at Connetix patterns using a mirror and want to extend this activity by creating half of an object that is symmetrical (such as a butterfly) and using the mirror to complete it. The children could then challenge themselves to create the other half using actual tiles too. Reflections occur when light bounces off an object. If the object is smooth and shiny like glass or water then it will reflect at the same angle, like when you use a mirror. You will also notice colours bouncing around the room when light reflects off the smooth bevelled tiles.
We have used stencils, chalk pens, stickers and cardboard to make opaque images when attached to Connetix Tiles. Add any light source, the opaque images will block the light, and shadows will project on the walls, ceiling or floor.
We used this in class as a secret message decoding activity. It works best with blue and red tiles and pens. Try writing an overlapping message in either colour, then view them under each tile to reveal what’s written. Wondering how it works? White light contains and reflects all colours, making the paper appear the same colour as the filter it’s viewed through. The colour of the text absorbs all other colours. So, when looking at blue text through a red filter, it appears dark blue or black, and can be seen. The red text, however, disappears almost completely as it reflects the red of the filter. The same happens with the blue filter. By allowing different words to be viewed clearly through different coloured filters, revealing the secret message!
DOMINO SPEED INVESTIGATION
The domino activity is a popular one for us with Connetix, lining up tiles like dominoes before knocking them down. You can take some measurements doing this to calculate the speed. You will need to record the distance and the time to finish. Speed (m/s) is calculated by dividing distance (m) by time (s). This works best when the domino track is linear.
了解化學過程 Understanding Chemical Processes
ELEMENTS, COMPOUNDS AND MIXTURES
This is a great activity I’ve practised to use in my science class. I created a model of elements where the tiles are all the same, compounds where two or more are joined together and mixtures where there’s a combination of the two. The students will be able to recreate these on my whiteboard. An example of an element would be oxygen, a compound could be water or H2O, and a mixture is sea water.
THE pH SCALE
Another activity I’ve practised to use for my class is to recreate a pH scale. The pastel colours and the clear set would make this even more effective! Using my rainbow tiles, I just had to double up colours to create different shades. This pH scale shows what colour universal indicator would turn if the solution was acidic, neutral or alkaline. We use liquid indicator at school, but you can get indicator paper easily for home use. A basic version could use red to indicate acidic (such as vinegar), blue to indicate an alkali (such as sodium bicarbonate), and green as neutral (such as water).