This activity requires approximately one 30-minute class
104-3: demonstrate and explain the importance of selecting appropriate processes for investigating scientific questions and solving technological problems (e.g., explain why astrology is not a part of science)
104-8: demonstrate the importance of using the languages of science and technology to compare and communicate ideas, processes, and results (e.g., use appropriate terminology such as "constellations," "planets," "moons," "comets," "asteroids," and "meteors" to describe objects in space)
105-6: describe how evidence must be continually questioned in order to validate scientific knowledge (e.g., provide examples of ideas, such as the flat Earth, the Earth as the centre of the solar system, and life on Mars, which were or are being challenged to develop new understandings of the natural world)
204-5: identify and control major variables in their investigations (e.g., predict what variables might affect the size of craters on the moon, using a flour and marble simulation)
204-7: plan a set of steps to solve a practical problem and to carry out a fair test of a science-related idea (e.g., plan a procedure to test a hypothesis in a simulated moon crater activity)
205-7: record observations using a single word, notes in point form, sentences, and simple diagrams and charts (e.g., use a data table to record night sky observations)
206-2: compile and display data, by hand or by computer, in a variety of formats including frequency tallies, tables, and bar graphs (e.g., prepare a diagram showing the orbits of the planets)
Through this activity, students will become more familar with the Big Bang theory for the formation of the universe. Students will have the opportunity to compile and graph experiencial data.
This activity involves having students analyze the results of a Big Bang demonstration. The teacher will use the explosion of a balloon filled with coloured confetti to model the results of the Big Bang.
Before letting students into the classroom, the teacher should move all the desks to provide a large open area at the center of the class. The teacher should then use masking tape to divide the open space into four quardants. Students should then be allowed to enter the class and to form a line at the back of the class. Without saying a word, the teacher produces a blown up balloon filled with confetti. The teacher will then pop the balloon without saying a word. The balloon should be held high enough for all students to clearly see the results. Once the pieces of confetti have all had a chance to fall, the teacher will then begin with the following focus questions.
Commencing the activity:
The teacher will then explain that there were relatively the same number of each colored pieces in the balloon and will begin to lay out the task for the students.
Students are to be divided into four groups, one for each quardrant.
Students within the group must decide on one recorder to begin recording the results.
Students should then work in their groups to formulate an explanation of what they observed from the demonstration.
Students will then begin analyzing their assigned quadrant.
Students will continue their analysis until a specified amount of time has passed.
Students will then be required to represent their results on the graph paper provided.
Students should then be asked to clean up their quardrant and to reassemble in a line at the back of the class
As a closure activity, the teacher may want to repeat the poping of the balloon with balloons blown to different sizes. Although it is not necessarily to have students repeat the entire activity, they can simply observe an comment on similarities and differences they observed compared to the original event.
At the very end of class, students should be asked to write a short paragraph describing the events of the class. Students should be encouraged to comment on the accuracy of the model to describe the Big Bang and how this may conflict with or reaffirm their personal convictions about the formation of the universe.
The key to this activity is having students look at essentially raw data in order to formulate a working explanation for the Big Bang based on the model they observed. Students should be evaluated on the rationale they include for their analysis of their quardrant, their choice of data representation, and also on their ability to work within their groups.
The following rubric may be helpful for evaluations.