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April 14, 2014

Science exhibition: Did anyone ask questions?

The science exhibition came and went more or less as it usually does. I briefly went to the exhibition and it seemed the wave of - "experiment description, demonstration and explanation" had pretty much wiped clean any possibility of getting people to think and getting them to figure things out on their own. Our detailed analysis of how we could present the Cartesian divers was also unused.

At the next class I asked if anyone with exhibits asked any questions at the exhibition. Five hands went up, the questions were: 
1) Which of the vessels sounds louder? 
2) Why does the vial go down when you press the bottle?
3) Will this float of sink?
4) Why can't you see the coin when we point water into the glass?
5) I asked them to hold the corn seed between the finger and thumb.
I'll let you figure out what the experiments the first four corresponded to. The fifth was intriguing because it was not a question, so I inquired further.

5) I asked people - "Can you hold the corn seed between your index finger and thumb?"
Pree  happily added, it only popped out for one person, but most others could do it. 

I'm still lost, so Pree gives context:
I had made this chart for solid, liquid and gas and put up a table with these in containers. My chart said that solids have definite shape and liquids and gases take the shape of the container. In the last class you said that salt also seemed to take the shape of the container I had put it in, this confused me. I could not change my demonstration chart or my collection of boxes, so I asked people to hold the corn seed between their fingers and they could do it. You see, you can't hold a liquid between your fingers.

Ah! Inquiry lives :).

I decided to drop being subtle and brought up a discussion of what the kids feel a science exhibition should be. I asked them to answer the question they could use what they enjoy most at an exhibition:
1) The presenter should be able to tell in both Tamil and English
2) There should be games that you can take part in
3) There should be something you can turn on and it does something
4) It should be unexpected

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