Grade 6 Science Fair Project – "Road Salt – Is it the Fastest Way to Melt Icy Roads?"

The purpose of this science fair project is to explore the effect of road salt placed on snowy and icy roads. The freezing point for water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature water freezes into ice. Road salt is placed on snowy and icy roads because the salt causes the ice and snow to melt. The chemistry behind this reaction is that salt lowers the melting point or freezing point of water. The salt acts as foreign particles in the water to help the melting process.

In this science fair project you will simulate sidewalks and roads in icy conditions. You will fill dishes with ice to represent the sidewalks and roads. You will place various materials across the ice cubes to see if and how the ice cubes melt. The various materials include: road salt, fertilizer, calcium chloride, cat litter, and sand.

Hypothesis:

Road salt and the various other materials will cause the ice to melt

faster than using nothing at all.

Variables:

Type of material spread on ice

Materials Needed:

  • Six dishes that have dimensions of 9 x 13 inches
  • Freezer available to use during the science fair project
  • Stopwatch
  • Water
  • 12 ounces of road salt
  • 12 ounces of fertilizer
  • 12 ounces of calcium chloride
  • 12 ounces of cat litter
  • 12 ounces of sand
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Camera

SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT SETUP INSTRUCTIONS:

Complete the following steps for this science fair project:

Setup Step #1:

Pour water into each of the six dishes. Make sure that the water level in each dish is 1 inch.

Setup Step #2:

Place the six dishes in the freezer. Leave the dishes in the freezer until the water has frozen to ice. You may have to leave the dishes in the freezer overnight.

Setup Step #3:

Place each of the six dishes on the floor of your kitchen.

You are now ready to begin the science experiment.

SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT INSTRUCTIONS:

Step #1:

You are going to spread material onto each dish in the following

manner:

Dish #1: Do not spread any material across this dish. Leave this

dish as plain ice only.

Dish #2: Spread the 12 ounces of road salt evenly across this dish.

Dish #3: Spread the 12 ounces of fertilizer evenly across this dish.

Dish #4: Spread the 12 ounces of calcium chloride evenly across

this dish.

Dish #5: Spread the 12 ounces of cat litter evenly across this dish.

Dish #6: Spread the 12 ounces of sand evenly across this dish.

Step #2:

Use your stopwatch to determine how long it takes for each

material to melt the ice. Record your observations. Did the road salt melt the ice the quickest? Rank the materials in order from the dish that melted the fastest to the slowest. Do you think that road salt is most effective material to use on icy roads? Why or why not?

Step #3:

You may want to take pictures during the melting process.

Pictures will help you document your observations as well as validate your results and conclusions.

Summary of Results:

The materials that were spread across each dish cause the freezing point to lower. This in effect caused the ice to melt. Road salt is

used on icy roads because it is the most effective and also the safest for the environment.

A New Definition of Science – The Textual Foundation That Represents the Real World

The Wikipedia defines science as follows. Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Definitions from various sources has to do with knowledge, investigation, study, observation, experimentation, laws, structure, behavior, explanation and systematicity.

They describe science and scientific activities, instead of pointing out what the enterprise is. What science looks like? They also don’t point out what enables science, why and how humans obtain the capability to advance in science. They describe the appearances and many facets of science but don’t make known the nature of science. We are going to find out.

After writing some articles on relations between written language and science, it is time for us to provide a new, text-based definition of science, which is important as a basis for carrying out future discussions of related issues. We have already proposed in previous papers that written language is the foundation of science.

The idea to exclude non-texts

We consider written language as the core of science, while non-texts are the goals, materials and occurrences.

Certainly, scientific activities include both texts and non-texts. Both are indispensable, with non-texts seem to be the real things. Without non-texts, the world wouldn’t exist, not to mention science. However, judging by the properties, we now decided to exclude non-texts from science. Otherwise, science would include virtually all information we can experience. That might lead to uncertainty, vagueness, misunderstanding, chaos and confusion.

Furthermore, we learn science mainly from books and papers. The achievement of scientists is judged by their publications. Some great discoveries are incidental. But they must be fitted into the existing textual framework to become part of the science.

When science is defined based on texts, its nature and properties will be well presented. Science-related investigations will be provided a clear basis. In fact, this definition doesn’t contradict with the common definitions, since texts constitute the systematic enterprise which supports the functions science fulfills.

The non-scientific texts

Texts are omnipresent in our lives, recording everything. But only a portion of them is considered scientific texts. The scientific or non-scientific texts are not different in that they are symbolic and sequential. Although they possess the capability of being science, they do not necessarily fulfil the function.

Descriptive texts

Texts of literature, narrative, fictions, art, instruction, music, advertisement, daily conversation, chatting message, etc. are descriptive and conveying. The sake of them is to describe the non-textual reality, which are the goal, in the center and being emphasized. This kind of texts are important in documenting, communicating the events, understanding of which are not reliant on the texts. The texts are peripheral to the non-texts and not attempting to build their own foundation. On the contrary, scientific texts are needed to understand the phenomena because of the properties of texts and the difficulties in observing the phenomena.

Mentalistic texts

This kind of texts are foundational but don’t represent facts. Collectively, we call them mentalistic texts. They include texts of religion, ethical belief, moral concept, philosophy, and pseudoscience. They tend to center on texts, but are not based on facts, based on vague facts or only reflect biased facts. Representing reality is not their goal. Nor are they intended to be verified. Subjectivity is an element common to this kind of texts. It is some kind of description or insistence on one’s own thought, opinion and argument, refraining from changes, rejecting challenges or denying their failure to account for the facts.

Although these texts don’t aim to represent reality, most of them are derived from facts or imaginations. They serve as an emotional need, spontaneous mental behavior and alternatives to science in some cases. Although not being scientific, they are still able to establish.

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There is no absolute distinction between descriptive, mentalistic and scientific texts. Some portions in descriptive texts or mentalistic texts might be scientific. The same facts could be studied in different kind of texts. For example, texts about history could be descriptive if they focus on the events; or scientific if they derive some regular patterns; or mentalistic if they adhere to creationism.

Indeed, scientific texts might have evolved from descriptive texts and mentalistic texts. That is why modern science was formerly called “natural philosophy”, which emerged from the integration of description of nature and the representational aspect of philosophy.

The text-based definition of science

Then comes the third kind of texts – science, defined as:

Science is the textual foundation that represents the real world.

Criteria of this definition

For the key properties of written language and science, refer to the paper “Language – The Core of Science”[1]. The basic ones are sequentiality and clarity. Now we added a third property – representation of reality. Being representational implies being processed, foundational, established and centered on.

The three properties are used for judgment on whether a text is scientific or how scientific it is. In the paper “Scientific Strength of Writing Systems – The Aspects”, we had explained the sequentility and clarity aspects. The “representation of reality” aspect is discussed in the following subsection.

Establishment of the representation of reality by means of visual processing

The key difference between representation and description is the center is texts for the former, while non-texts being the center of the latter. The accumulation of science is based on existing representational texts, while descriptive texts conform to the facts as they are. Since non-texts are centered on, the properties of texts given in The Paper are not fully exploited in descriptive texts, although which might choose proper or beautiful language in their composition.

The visual characteristic of texts makes it suitable for visual processing, which is needed to build a representation of reality. Through mental processing of the representational texts, we are able to extract consistency, commonalities and regularity, to clarify, refine and simplify information, to find contradictions, to discover new theory by reasoning, to approve or disapprove a new theory, to incorporate new theories into existing knowledge, to establish relations between existing knowledge, to organize and categorize knowledge as it expands. All these are achieved by intensive textual thinking.

The sequential growth of symbolic representation is constantly checked with facts, observations and experiments for validation. The explanation of the facts in textual means is accurate and deterministic, unlikely to change and are relied upon, while the represented non-texts are themselves not sequentially related, not clearly observed or even invisible. Due to the infinite expansion of observations and experiments, the textual representations also expand accordingly in an orderly manner.

Conclusion

Given the new definition of science, our discussions of science-related matters will be on a clear, focused and targeted course. It becomes clear that the science-centered world is in essence founded on scientific texts and the textual mind. Technology, engineering and many life-changing practices are integrated with and reliant on the textual representations.

In the science-text unity, we had put more emphasis on the written language. Now, as we are shifting towards science, there is a new horizon ahead.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_academic_fields

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science

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[1] Referred to as “The Paper” hereafter.

The Importance of Playing With Science

As a homeschool teacher, do you think of science as a “hard” subject, that is one that requires serious learning and deep discussion? If your goal is to get your kids excited about science, then you are going about it the wrong way. Because young children are instinctively curious about the world around them, it’s natural that they prefer poking and prodding and tasting and testing it – in other words playing with science. And that leads to the wonderful ideas that promote science discovery and help them learn more about the process of science.

Play versus Learning Facts

In the traditional science classroom, children are taught to memorize facts; the focus is on rote learning. It’s no wonder that so many kids today are uninterested in pursuing science topics above and beyond what is required in the classroom!

Unfortunately, the rote fact teaching methodology does not involve real science. It is concerned more with helping kids return the right answers in a passive learning framework which involves no risk, no decision-making and no demands on a child’s inquisitive nature.

Real science has tangible substance. Real learning of real science involves active participation and teaching kids how to use science by learning the process, not the facts. It encourages them to think, compare, investigate and experiment. And that can be considered “play” because it’s fun and exciting for kids to learn science in this manner.

Teaching Science In a Playful Manner

When teaching your kids about science, it’s important to get them involved both mentally and physically. There shouldn’t be any concrete answers in their science textbooks and workbooks; instead the curriculum should encourage questioning and help students probe for their own answers based on experimentation and observation. As E. Duckworth states in the 1987 work The Having of Wonderful Ideas and Other Essays on Teaching and Learning, “Any wrong idea that is corrected provides far more depth than if one never had a wrong idea to begin with. You master the idea much more thoroughly if you have considered alternatives, tried to work it out in areas where it didn’t work, and figured out why it was that it didn’t work, all of which takes time.”

Children want to try to understand the world around them. As they make observations, they will come to conclusions, some of which will be right, others will be wrong. Science becomes fun when kids can take their beliefs about the natural world and compare them to the way things really work, as noted through experimentation. This allows them to play with science and observe the results to form factual conclusions that gets them excited about learning more. This teaching methodology encourages kids to let their imagination run wild with new ideas and promotes the continual use of curiosity to form other hypotheses they can test.

Inquiry and discovery lie at the root of the process of real science. This is how scientists work in the real world and it works well for helping your kids get excited about learning science in a homeschool setting.

Many parents believe it is easier to teach homeschool science using the more traditional curriculum that focuses on rote learning. Actually, the reverse is true. A science curriculum that helps the homeschool teacher and student together discover whether or not a hypothesis is correct allows both of them to apply the process of science to everyday life. And that results in real learning of real science.

Random Facts Versus Whole Science Approach to Homeschool Teaching

When it comes to learning science, most of us were taught in the public school system, which is a big proponent of the random fact teaching methodology. In other words, science was a single subject taught in a vacuum separate from other subjects. When it comes to teaching difficult or complex subjects such as science, it makes more sense to take a holistic approach. Here’s why.

The Science Random Fact Junk Drawer

There has been much news lately about the American education crisis in regards to a lack of interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines. The United States is falling behind other developed countries when it comes to new technologies and discoveries, mainly because it is producing fewer graduates with related degrees.

One of the reasons for this lack of interest in STEM disciplines is due to the way kids are taught. Students often learn a bit of science here and a bit of science there without being provided any logical way to connect the dots. This collection of random facts can be likened to your junk drawer at home – you know there’s a screwdriver in the midst of all those rubber bands and paper clips and batteries and gadgets somewhere, you just can’t find it amongst all the clutter.

The same holds true for kids learning science. For instance, if a child learns a little something about the earth and the moon and how the shadow of our planet can cause a lunar eclipse, that’s an interesting, but random, fact. You might also have taught your child some astronomy concepts and explained how the moon affects the ocean’s tides. Perhaps your child has also learned something about gravity and the moon’s gravitational pull. But if you are using many mainstream homeschool science curricula, those facts were never pulled together to show the student how the moon is at the core of all these facts and they are interrelated. That’s why it’s so difficult for many kids (and adults alike!) to make the leap between one science fact and how it impacts so many other areas of the world around us. This also makes it very hard to extract a random fact later because the child must rely on rote learning.

The Whole Science Teaching Approach

A better, more effective way to teach homeschool science is through an exponential approach. By helping kids make their own connection between subjects, they are much better equipped to draw broader conclusions. This is also a great way to encourage their natural curiosity and develop hands-on experimentation that offers exciting new discoveries in the child’s mind.

The whole science homeschool teaching approach is all about extrapolation. Once your student has assimilated some core concepts they are prepared to expand that knowledge and apply it to different, everyday situations.

For instance, let’s go back to that random fact about the moon’s gravitational pull on earth. That’s a physic concepts and that explains much about a lunar eclipse, which is a topic generally brought up in astronomy. Those same gravitational forces are at work when it comes to oceanic tide cycles, a topic that may be part of biology learning. By painting the bigger picture, a student can connect the dots between physics and astronomy and biology herself and become excited about learning more.

This approach also compartmentalizes and organizes bits of information so they can easily be retrieved at will and on demand. And it aids the homeschool science teacher, who often doesn’t understand the information herself, present complex concepts and help the student come to a conclusion that need not be foregone.

When it comes to teaching a difficult subject such as science, the homeschool teacher would be wise to use a whole science approach rather than relying on a random fact methodology.

Tips For Winning a Science Fair Project With a Rock Set

Collecting rocks is a popular hobby that kids and adults can enjoy together. More than just a fun activity, rock collecting is a great way to study rocks and geology. It can also make a great science fair project. This article provides tips on how to win a science fair project with an amazing rock set.

Rock collecting can be done for fun or for learning or both at the same time. Many children return from the beach or park with a pocketful of assorted rocks, drawn to shapes, colors, and textures. Taking a more systematic approach to rock collecting can help kids take their fun to another level while they also discover the underlying geology.

For a science fair project, it’s more impressive if the student has collected many samples in person. It makes for interesting stories to include in the presentation. Photos of the adventure mounted to a foam board or set in a photo album can help tell the story.

To collect your own rock set, you will need to choose a good location for the hunt. Check local geological maps and look for hills, cliffs, beaches, and quarries. Pick up interesting rocks on trips. When collecting in person, label each sample with a number and location to help later identification. If using a rock hammer to collect samples, wear goggles and gloves.

However, not everyone has time to collect their own rock set. The good news is you don’t have to collect your own because you can purchase a rock set containing just about any kind of rocks you could ever find on your own. For many busy families, a store-bought rock set provides a good place to start.

To win a science fair project, your rock set should include examples of all three rock types as listed below. There are three types of rock categorized by formation:

o Igneous

o Sedimentary

o Metamorphic

Igneous rocks form from cooling magma, or molten rock. Volcanic or extrusive rocks result from volcanic activity at the Earth’s surface and fast cooling of lava. The rapid cooling produces fine-grained rocks like obsidian and basalt. Plutonic or intrusive rocks form beneath the surface, from slowly cooled magma. These rocks, like pumice and granite are typically rougher and have larger crystals.

Sedimentary rocks form through deposition in water. Small rock particles are eroded and accumulate in lakes, oceans, and rivers. Over time, these particles settle in layers and compress into rock, such as sandstone, limestone, and chalk.

Metamorphic rocks are igneous or sedimentary rocks that have undergone extreme pressure and temperature conditions, resulting in new forms. Marble forms from limestone, while quartzite develops from quartz.

For a winning science fair project, consider using a rock tumbler to polish some of the samples. Rock tumblers smooth rocks by moving them around in grit and other polishing compounds. Rocks of a similar hardness should be polished together, so first identify and classify samples on the Mohs scale. The process takes about a month, starting with a rough grind to smooth edges and moving to finer grit and polish with each step. Follow all tumbler directions for the best results. Careful recording of the amounts and types of rock, polishing materials, and duration will create an informative science fair project. Note any changes in the tumbler contents or actions taken to improve the process.

All of the tips provided so far are essential for winning a science fair project. However, if you really want to take your project to a higher level, you’ll need to become fluent in speaking rock talk. This is what separates the true rock lovers from the more casual passers-by. You’ll need to dig a bit (no pun intended) into the science of how rocks are formed. Often rocks are made up of several minerals. Once a child knows how rocks and minerals form, finding different types becomes easier. Understanding chemistry is useful. Elements such as carbon, iron, and fluorine are the simplest building blocks of minerals. A specific combination of elements forms a mineral, such as quartz or mica. Minerals have characteristic crystalline structures made up of repeating elements. Kids enjoy identifying minerals with a rock set and tools to test hardness. The systematic approach involves looking at the streak color left by a rock, along with its ability to scratch glass or be scratched by a metal probe. All this extra knowledge will make your science fair project more impressive while building your own knowledge, understanding and appreciation for rocks.