I'm no spring chicken so I know that the days before and after an extended break from school can be pretty interesting. Some of the kiddos are so excited about their upcoming vacation or activities that school pales in comparison, while other kids don't want to admit it, but time away from school means uncertainty and often hunger which makes neither group very open to learning at that point. So, this year my colleagues and I are trying something new. We are riding that wave of crazy energy instead of fighting it! We are using the days immediately before and after Spring Break as STEM Enrichment Days where we take a detour from our regularly scheduled curriculum and opt for all that cool "extra" stuff that we want to teach, but never seem to have the time for. Please don't misunderstand, there is significant learning going on!
Instead of Humanities, my students experienced Yum Science where we learned about molecular gastronomy and the mysteries of taste. One of the elements that the kids found really interesting involved yeast. They were blown away to learn that this leavening agent is a single-celled fungi that eats sugar and expels carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol. (Thanks Wonder of the Day # 1202!) When we focused on identifying four types of chemical change (change in color, change in temperature, formation of a gas, formation of a precipitate) we used those little fungis (read as "fun guys" and chuckle) to create an awesome fountain of foam. I love it when my cool 5th graders can't contain their squeals of delight! Check out our video. You'll actually hear a student shriek, "That's awesome!" Take that pre-Spring-Break-crazys!