Earlier, I mentioned the power of students having voice and choice in their learning. My students’ voices led us to discovering maple syrup, where it comes from, and how it is made. Being southerners, we do not know much about winter – let alone tapping trees for sap. So, we went on a search for our own answers. As we continued to explore fall, we learned about other trees and how they change with the seasons.
One of our “go to” resources for questions we have is Brainpop Jr. We absolutely LOVE Annie and Moby. The videos are short, direct, and keep the students engaged. My students already know that Annie and Moby can help us with most things. We watched the video about seasons and then ordered changes that happen.
Our exploration of seasons and trees ended with our “experiment” involving maple syrup and regular pancake syrup. We watched how maple syrup is made – from tree to bottle. We connected our Global Read Aloud author, Eric Carle, with our activity as well by reading Pancake, Pancake. Finally, we started put on our scientists thinking caps and got down to business.
Our experiment began with observations about the two kinds of syrup. As the syrup was poured we noted the speed it flowed out of the bottle (fast or slow), the thickness of it (like water or glue), and the color (light brown or dark brown). We poured the syrups into clear cups to make it easier to see. Next was our taste test. Each group of students had waffles to use as tools for tasting. We made sure to only taste one kind at a time and we didn’t drink anything while tasting. We tasted regular pancake syrup first. Next, we tasted maple syrup. Some of us were nervous, because we had never had it before. Everyone was a brave scientist and tried a little! After tasting, we voted.
We counted the votes and then compared the numbers. In math we are talking about more/less and greater/fewer. We knew that regular pancake syrup had the most votes because 11 is greater than 7. Once the votes were counted, we finished our waffles.
All good scientists discuss their experiments when they are over. Some questions we asked and answered were:
- Why did you like regular pancake syrup better?
- Why did you like maple syrup better?
- Where did the maple syrup come from?
- How was the maple syrup made?
- Where do you think the regular pancake syrup came from?
- How do you think the pancake syrup was made?
How can you be a scientist today?