The article presents the experimental work in after school care which was carried out with 2nd grade students. The preparation of students for the experiment is presented, and a worksheet is attached with the described purpose of the exercise, the necessary material and a description of the implementation. The experimental work was carried out in after school care during two school hours. The presented exercise is easy to prepare and perform. When choosing an experiment in the sandbox, we focused on exploring natural phenomena in nature. The workflow was designed according to the principles of formative monitoring, such as experimential learning, collaboration, creativity, planning, motivation, perseverance and reasoning.
Key words: experiment, volcano, performance, observation.
The experiment at all levels of education is intended to observe and study various natural phenomena, acquire skills, learn about different measurement procedures, process measurements, display measurements, and connect theory and nature. With the help of the experiment, students get answers to questions that “swarm in their heads”. Pupils in the second grade thus acquire knowledge in an understandable way and at the same time learn to apply the acquired knowledge in practice.
In the second grade of primary school, students discuss the thematic set Space, in which they get to know different landscapes around the world and learn about ways of presenting the geographical environment in a sandbox or on a map or globe. When performing the experiment, we chose a sandbox, as this is located on the school playground.
The experiment performed by the students in the sandbox is simple and does not require much effort, neither to prepare nor to perform.
Through the experiment in a sandbox, we learned to form a volcanic cone out of sand, learned about the components of a volcano, and found that its eruption is caused by high pressures in the magma chamber. The children actively participated in the process of work (planning, implementation) and evaluation, as they found that nature has the power of destruction and rebirth.
We used different methods: practical knowledge (making a volcano) and skills of observation, experimentation and reasoning.
2.1. Preparing students for the experiment
In order to perform the experiment, it was necessary to properly prepare the students, to acquaint them with the purpose of performing the experiment, with the necessary material and aids for the implementation and the method of implementation. Great emphasis was placed on protecting students at work. The experiment was performed partly by the students themselves and partly with the help of the teacher. The teacher introduced the theoretical part to students and guided them during practical work.
2.2. Performing an experiment in a sandbox
The experiment was performed with students who attend after school care. The students got acquainted with the theoretical work in the classroom. With the help of the teacher’s presentation and the World Wide Web, they learned what a volcano is, they learned its shape with its components, and the reason for their action. The experimental part was performed in the school sandbox.
During the task, the students were divided into two groups. Each group was given a worksheet with basic instructions (a picture of the volcano, a list of equipment, and instructions) and a box of equipment that were important to perform the exercise.
Each group formed a volcano in the sandbox with the help of sand. It had to have the shape of a cone. The sand was too dry to form a cone, so water was added to it and the formation of the volcano went smoothly.
Picture 1. Volcanic cone formation Picture 2. Experimental experience of sand
Each volcano has a magma chamber, a main vent through which magma flows and a crater. For this purpose, a pot was placed inside the cone. The bottom of the pot represented the magma chamber, the central part represented the main vent, and the upper edge represented the volcanic crater.
Film 1. Relaxed children during creating of their volcano
More than 200 g of baking soda was poured into the magmatic center of the volcanic cone, then 2 dl of white distilled vinegar was slowly poured into the pot. Baking soda began to foam when in contact with vinegar. Foam abruptly began to climb up the main vent of the volcano and penetrated from the crater and spilled abruptly along the volcanic cone.
There was a lot of enthusiasm among the students: smiles and satisfaction on young faces, shouts and screams of joy, laughter…
The second group used baking powder instead of baking soda. This eruption was modest, with no intense rustling and foaming. The magma reached the top of the volcano’s throat, bubbling in the crater area, but did not spill over the cone.
By observing both eruptions, the students found that there were differences between the eruptions. Some may be smaller and less intense, others more extensive and jerky. According to the students, more extensive and jerky eruptions influence the spillage of lava on the surface and the formation of lava flows, which can change the natural environment with each eruption. Such areas are dangerous to human life, according to students. They can leave destruction in settlements and towns.
The preparation and implementation of the experiment was a professional challenge for the teacher, and for the students who attend after school care certainly a different and interesting school lesson. The lesson aroused a lot of interest, enthusiasm and, above all, offered practical knowledge and personal experience. When planning, a lot of attention had to be paid to the gradual presentation of the new topic, the safety of the students in carrying out the experiment and the consistency in the production. The students were very motivated, curious and full of expectations for the work. With great interest and enthusiasm, they carried out the set tasks. At the final evaluation, the students expressed a wish that they would like even more such work during after school care.
After school care is an “extension” of a lesson that a teacher can take as a personal challenge and offers children topics and activities that will be based on a common challenge, personal experience that will arouse curiosity in students and stimulate countless questions. Modern forms of teaching are based on the active work of students and experiment is certainly such a form of work. The knowledge acquired is more lasting, as the real life experience is the one that shows certain natural phenomena much more clearly and helps to draw cconclusions by the students.
- Bevc, V. (1997): Pouk geografije v naravi, Zavod Republike za šolstvo, Ljubljana.
- Kunaver, J., Černe, A., Kert, B., Klemenčič, M., Lovrenčak, F., Pak, M. (1989): Geografija. Domača pokrajina. Priročnik za geografsko spoznavanje domače pokrajine, Mladinska knjiga, Ljubljana.
- Novak, L., 2018. Formativno spremljanje na razredni stopnji. Priročnik za učitelje. Ljubljana, Zavod Republike Slovenije za šolstvo.
- Učni načrt za spoznavanje okolja v osnovni šoli. URL: https://www.gov.si/assets/ministrstva/MIZS/Dokumenti/Osnovna-sola/Ucninacrti/obvezni/UN_spoznavanje_okolja_pop.pdf (pridobljeno: 27. 2. 2021).
- Van Cleave, V. (1997): Geografija za vsakega otroka, Učila, Tržič.
- Ivanšek, D. (1999): Spoznavanje domače pokrajine, priročnik za učitelje, Rokus 1999, Ljubljana.