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Science Fair Demonstration Script, 4th & 5th Grades Electromagnetism

Demonstrators instructions are in non-italics. Words to say are in italics. You dont have to follow this script exactly, just use it to guide you. Materials needed for the demo are in a cardboard box: 1. (1-4) 6 Volt heavy duty batteries 2. One container of staples (already crimped?) 3. One container of paper clips (small) 4. Alligator clips (need 2 pairs per battery) 5. (1) nail with copper wire wound around it (25 windings) 6. (1) nail with copper wire wound around it (50 windings) 7. (1) nail with copper wire wound around it (75 windings) 8. (1) nail with copper wire wound around it (100 windings)not available Also useful: Science experiment books, chart of scientific method, deadlines, data charts/table written on white board (Before you start the demo, get out the display board and set it up on a table at the front of the room. You MIGHT have the elements of the display board covered up with the removable/reusable pieces of paper so that the students wont see the completed project board. AT LEAST cover the results so that the students can form their own hypotheses. Get the materials out and set them up per battery, but dont connect any of them. Your volunteers will do that. Have them ready so that when you get to the Procedure, you can jump into the experiment.) Hello, my name is ______. Im here to review the Scientific Method and the elements that should be included in your science fair project. Science fair for upper graders, meaning 4th and 5th graders, is mandatory. This year the science fair will be held on _________. Sign-ups are due ___________. (At this point you might present a quick overview of the scientific method: problem, research, hypothesis) A science fair project should have your name, your grade, your teachers name, and your classroom number. (Uncover the NAME card on the display.)

OK, lets start by identifying a problem or a question. Good science often starts by asking questions. The best questions are about things that you are already curious about. (can also show science project books) Who knows what a magnet is? Who knows what an electromagnet is? Here we have a nail. Is it magnetic just as it is? Here is the copper wire. Is it magnetic just as it is? When we apply electrical current through the coils of wire wrapped around the nail, and in this case we are using a battery for the electrical current, we can turn a non-magnet into a magnet. BUT is building an electromagnet an EXPERIMENT, or is it just a DEMONSTRATION? (Be sure they understand that so far this is just a demonstration. Get suggestions on how to turn this into an experiment, then point out question on display boardCan increasing the number of coils on an electromagnet increase its power?) Now that I have a topic, its time to find out more about it by collecting information. This is called RESEARCH. (Uncover the RESEARCH title card on the display) Knowing that the library would be a great place to look for more information, I looked for a book that had a bunch of great science experiments. (Show the book, but not the page with the experiment). I found an experiment in a book that matched my question. YOUR research might make give you ideas to change/improve your problem/experiment. I took notes on what I thought would be important for my topic. By the way, it is really important to give credit to anyone who helps you with your experiment. Sometimes that will be the writer of a book, sometimes that will be your mom or dad, or a person who helps you make your experiment or even a place you went to on the internet. These are called your REFERENCES. I included them with the research I had done on my topic. (Uncover the research summary card on the display.) Note: Upper grade teachers will probably have specific expectations regarding research, reports, etc. Now lets form our HYPOTHESIS. (Uncover the HYPOTHESIS title card on the display.) In science it is important to think ahead and make an estimate or educated guess about how the experiment will turn out. This will help us design our experiment. A hypothesis is your guess or prediction about what will happen. The hypothesis answers your question. So lets look at our question again. (You might show two or three coiled nails.) Do you think the number of coils will make a difference? (Accept some guesses then uncover the hypothesis on the display yes, I think increasing the coilswill increase the power. You might note that good research will find the answerstill dangerously close to a demo!)

Now, lets make a plan on how we are going to do our experiment and what supplies we will need. The list of supplies needed to do the experiment is called your MATERIALS. (Uncover the MATERIALS title card) Heres the list of supplies I used. (Uncover the materials list on the display and read through it out loud.) How you do an experiment is called your PROCEDURE. The procedure explains what I did. (Uncover the PROCEDURE title card onto the display). When you do an experiment at home, you may want to do it a couple of times before you make a display board. After you try it once, you may find out that you want to do the same experiment again in different ways or just do it again to make sure that the observations are the same each time. When the experiment comes out the same way each time, this is called repeatable. (Point out the experiment set up and the procedure) Here I have all these things from the materials list. The procedure is really simple. Demonstrate how to assemble the electromagnet. Now, I didnt have enough copper wire to make a 100-coiled electromagnet. Should I go ahead and make it with different wire instead? Hopefully youll get some comments about that not being fair, consistent, We should only use one kind of wire at a time. In a good experiment, only one factor should be changing thats the variable, the thing were testing. What are we testing here? (number of coils). Everything else, like the type of wire, should be the samecontrolled. Now were ready to begin. Ask for volunteers. For each test (25 coils, 50, 75) you might have 3 volunteersone assembler, one tester and one recorder. (Currently we only have enough materials to do 2 tests simultaneously. Performing the 3 or 4 tests consecutively works finestudents in the audience can spend the time refining predictionsbut the first test will have the strongest battery.) Have them work as teams picking up paper clips and/or staples. Have them put the experiment together following the drawing and written procedure. Results can be recorded in a table written on the board or on chart paper. Have the remaining kids guess what they think will happen. During this experiment we rate the strength of electromagnets by counting the number of paper clips/staples picked up (end to end?). This is called making an observation. An observation can also be something you just notice, like I noticed that____ (not all the paper clips are the same? Using different ends of the nail does/doesnt make a difference?). Careful observation is a very important part of science. In most experiments there will be a lot of observations, and you should always write them down as you go. Here, we are recording our RESULTS in a data table. You might decide later that a graph would be another good way to present this information. The results tell what happened in the experiment. But, they dont say why the experiment turned out the way it did, or whether my hypothesis was right or wrong.
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We use something called CONCLUSIONS for that. (Attach the CONCLUSIONS title to the display.) First, was my hypothesis right or wrong? (Let kids answer) Do we feel bad that the hypothesis turned out to be wrong? Or do we feel good that we observed something interesting? This is one of the most exciting things about science. Sometimes we learn more when our hypothesis is wrong, because were learning something unexpected! At this point you could discuss reasons why the results did not match our hypothesis (which is very likely!). You can talk about inconsistencies, variables that should have been controlled(tightness of the coils, changing strength of battery over time,). You might also talk about improvements or variations to this experiment. A good conclusion might require another trip to the library/internet. FINALLY, you could compare experiments(does ___ affect electromagnet strength) vs. demonstrations (how to build an electromagnet). (If there is time, do the following review. Point to sections of the display as you go through the steps.) Lets review what we did. First, think of a QUESTION that interests you. Second, ask your parents what they know about your idea, or check on the Internet, or in the library to find out more information for your RESEARCH. Third, see if you can think up an experiment that will help answer the question you have. Here again, the library has a lot of great books that can help you, and your parents or friends might have ideas. Remember to write down your references, including any people and books that help you with your project. Fourth, as you begin your experiment, try to predict what will happen. That becomes your HYPOTHESIS. Fifth, write down your PROCEDURE, or the steps you did for the experiment. This includes your MATERIALS. Sixth, while you are doing the experiment, make your observations. Watch what happens and write down what happens either with words or by drawing pictures, or maybe both. These are your RESULTS. Seventh, think back to your original question, and then think how the experiment helped you answer your question. Maybe do some more research on the Internet or in the library. Write down your CONCLUSIONS. Once it is all done, make a TITLE for your display, and Lastly, make sure your NAME and your TEACHERs NAME are on the display too.
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Any questions?