Recently, fifth-grade students in Sandra DaEira-Loccisano’s class at William Floyd Elementary School had the opportunity to collaborate through Google Hangout with 10th-grade chemistry students in Martin Palermo’s class at William Floyd High School through a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Circle, an effort designed to align the elementary and high school teachers through science education to support the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
To prepare for the experiment, the fifth graders investigated the properties of “magic sand” and waterproofing using Scotchgard™, and prepared questions to ask the 10th graders through an interactive video question and answer session.
“Mr. Palermo really had my students engaged,” said Mrs. DaEira-Loccisano. “He began his lesson by demonstrating what Scotchgard would do if sprayed on a t-shirt – one of the questions that the students were inquiring about.” To the amazement of the fifth graders, the ScotchGard repelled water (dyed blue) off of the shirt without leaving a stain.
Mr. Palermo added, “The questions that the fifth-grade students asked were concepts that we studied in class related to the unit. Additionally, it provided them with-real world applications of the concepts as well. In the future we hope to work on a joint laboratory experiment where Mrs. DaEira-Loccisano’s students will perform an experiment and come to some preliminary conclusions and my chemistry class will then investigate those findings further and then report back to her students.”
“We had an awesome experience collaborating with Mr. Palermo and his high school chemistry students and cannot wait to do it again,” said Mrs. DaEira-Loccisano. “My students were able to see the connections between what they are learning in fifth grade and how it extends to high school.”
After Mr. Palermo explained the properties of positive and negative polarities, the fifth-grade students began generating new questions which will lead into new and interesting scientific research and experiments.
Special thanks to Dr. Donna Watkins, Director of STEM, William Floyd School District; Terri Randall, William Floyd High School chemistry teacher; and Kathleen Pantaleo, Educational Technology Specialist, Instructional Technology, who provided technical assistance.