In STEM class this year, fifth graders will learn how to follow scientific procedures, measure properly, convert weights and volumes, and track data.
While participating in a recent scientific investigation, students were tasked with preparing materials, gathering measuring devices, using safety equipment, and following step-by-step lab directions. These classroom experiments reinforce the concepts that comprise the scientific method.
The skills are being used in a unique experience based on the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) model unit called "The Garbage Unit.” This unit has been adapted by Mr. Sheridan and Dr. Rose to incorporate local data from our county landfill. Throughout the planning process, we have collaborated with the Sarasota County Landfill manager to make this unit come to life. This allows the content to have meaningful real world and local connections.
We all interact with waste management in our daily lives but seldom know what happens after we throw things in the trash. Students will learn about the dangers and importance of properly disposing of waste, complete engineering projects, discover the different fields of engineering at the landfill, and open their minds to possibilities of advancing waste management for the future.
All the fifth grade NGSS data about matter and its interaction, Earth’s systems, ecosystems (interactions, energy, and dynamics), Earth and human activity, as well as engineering design, will be explored while connected to the discovery of the engineering and science behind waste management.
"I want to give my students the opportunity to collect data in real-world situations," said Mr. Sheridan. "This will help them build relationships between measurements and increase their scientific fluency," said Mr. Sheridan. "Utilizing measuring tools and being extremely precise are key factors in the success of these experiments."