Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#4028. Investigating the Systems Concept

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Mon Aug 6 10:51:24 PDT 2007 by Paul George (pgeorge@brewsterschools.org).
John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Brewster, NY
Materials Required: D battery, Flashlight bulb, candle, carts, matches, thermicon card, worksheet, masking tape, wire
Activity Time: 1 hour
Concepts Taught: Systems of Interacting Objects

Title: Investigating the Systems Concept
Grade: Second
Subject: Science
Time Allotment: 30 minutes
Objectives: The students will:
1. observe demonstrations of systems of interacting objects and use the systems concept to help organize a description of the demonstrations.
2. describe the evidence of interactions of objects in a system.
3. create a written description of a system and the objects involved in the system.
Materials:
1. battery (size D)
2. flashlight bulb
3. candle
4. carts (one with plastic lop attached)
5. matches
6. masking tape
7. Thermicon card
8. aluminum wire
9. chalkboard, chalk
10. worksheet for each student

Procedure:
1. Draw on student's previous knowledge of science vocabulary by having groups define different science terms -- object, property, interaction.
2. Demonstrate three experiments. Ask students to describe what is happening in each demonstration.
3. Demonstration 1 -- Wrap one end of the aluminum wire around the flashlight bulb and tape the free end to the base of the battery. As you touch the tip of the bulb to the knob end of the battery, the bulb will light. As you remove the bulb from the battery, the light will go out. Repeatedly touch and remove the battery to flash the light.
4. Demonstration 2 -- Line up two carts. Push the cart with the plastic loop spring until it bumps into the other cart.
5. Demonstration 3 -- Light the candle and warm the Thermicon card until part of it turns orange-red.
6. Repeat the demonstrations and ask volunteers to identify which objects are interacting in each one. On the chalkboard, write the names of the objects in three separate lists -- one for each demonstration.
7. Hold up the two carts while pointing to the appropriate list of objects on the chalkboard. Tell the students that scientists use the word system when they think or talk about a group of objects that interact or belong together. Point out that the two carts and the loop spring are a system for that demonstration. Turn to the board and circle the list of these objects and write system above the circled list. Repeat the procedure of the other two systems. Point out that you now have three systems. Explain that each system will be given a different label (system A, system B, and system C) so that they won't be confused about which system we are talking about. Relate this back to the fact that we label points in math (geometry)
8. Find out whether most students have followed the explanation of systems by asking simple questions about the systems. Give time for each group to discuss their responses. Name an object that belongs in system B. In which system is there a candle? Name an object not in system A. Which of these systems do not include scissors? If students are slow to respond, repeat a demonstration of the system and discuss a simple system, such as paper, pencil, and hand in a writing system.
9. Point out that so far, we have only labeled the systems with letters. Discuss how we could also name the systems by the objects in the system, such as the bulb-wire-battery system. Write this above that system. Also explain that you could name a system by what happens in it, such as the bumping system.
10. Tell students that you want to make a new system called the moving light system using some of the objects from the previous demonstrations. Ask students to develop this system in groups. Have a volunteer describe the system. Demonstrate the system by putting the light bulb and battery on the cart and pushing it.
11. Ask why it would be helpful to identify and name systems when objects interact. Allow time for discussion and ask a volunteer to share their response. Develop an idea that choosing a system helps you describe and explain the interaction that took place. Explain that choosing a system can also help you identify whether the objects in the system interacted with each other or whether they show evidence of interaction with an object that is not in the system. Tell students that in future activities, they will learn more about the importance of identifying systems when describing experiments.
Closure/Assessment:
Students will independently complete a teacher-created worksheet and develop a fried egg system.

Assessment:
Observe demonstrations of systems of interacting objects and use the systems concept to help organize a description of the demonstrations.
The teacher will observe the students while describing the demonstrations.
Describe the evidence of interactions of objects in a system.
The teacher will observe the students while describing the demonstrations. The teacher will check the fired egg system worksheet to see that students have listed the evidence of interaction in the fried egg system.
Create a written description of a system and the objects involved in the system.
The students will describe a fried egg system and list the objects on the worksheet.

Name ______________________ Date ____________

You are a scientist. You have been given the job of creating a system. The name of the system is the fried egg system.

What objects will be in the fried egg system?
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Draw the system.


What is the evidence that the objects in your fried egg system are interacting?
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now you must make your own system.
Give your system a name. ______________________________
List the objects in your system.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Draw your system.

Describe the interactions that will take place between the objects in your system.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
List any other systems that you know.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________