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October 4, 2018

Halloween Mad Science Spooktacular

By Lindsey Petlak
Grades 1–2, 3–5

    Every class party we enjoy is based around educational activities disguised as party pandemonium. Read on to see how we “put a spell” on literacy, math, and science with our Halloween Mad Science Spooktacular.

    Set a Scientifically Spooky Scene: Gather beakers, jars, test tubes, and cylinders. Fill with water and add food coloring or drop a neon glow stick into each. Add fake snakes, bugs, and even eyeballs into each container. Kick it up a notch by dropping pieces of dry ice into everything on display that is containing water.

    Turn this décor into a teachable moment by asking students to identify each scientific container and its purpose. Measure water into each, calculate the volume of items you drop into the containers by the amount each water level rises once the items are added, and have your scientists make hypotheses about what the mystery material is that you dropped into each container (dry ice).

    CAUTION: Dry ice is harmful to bare skin. Be VERY CAUTIOUS when transporting and handling dry ice and always keep it out of reach of your students. Wear protective, coated gloves when you handle the material to drop it into each container.

    Candy Corn Connections: Students pair up to read Halloween tales together. Two favorites are The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything and The Ugly Pumpkin. As they read, students search for text-to-self (TTS) connections. Students write about the following ways they connect to the story:

    1. In the book I can connect with . . . (top 1/3 of candy corn)

    2. In my own life this reminds me of . . . (middle 1/3 of candy corn)

    3. I understand the story better now because . . . (bottom 1/3 of candy corn)

    Once they record these TTS connections, they publish their answers on a tri-colored candy corn display easily constructed by gluing together roughly conical shapes cut from white, orange, and yellow construction paper. The TTS Candy Corn Connections look amazing and show how much the students learned from the stories!

     

    Bat Bone Powder and Spider Spit: Before our party, we engaged in foundational hands-on science experiments as a culminating project to our states of matter science unit.

    At our party, students measured and combined baking soda and vinegar to create an "explosion." Everyone loved how combining a solid and liquid could create a gas based on a chemical reaction. As they experimented, each mini-scientist recorded his/her observations and made predictions about how/why the chemical reaction happened as it did.

    Ghoulish Goo: It’s alive!! . . . but what is it? Is it a solid or a liquid, or continuously changing? We dug our hands in to find out! Parent volunteers led students in a slime-making activity. Hold the goo in your hand and it's a liquid, ROLL it in your hands and it morphs into a solid. I found several different slime recipes here. Have your mad scientists measure ingredients, mix the slime, then record the steps to the experiments and their observations about the chemical reaction and changes in states of matter that occurred as they engaged with their goo.

    Bubbling Cauldron: Students begin simply with water in a clear cup and then add different objects such as raisins and marshmallows to see what happens (you can label them fun names like shriveled bat brains and mummy-mallows). Then, they add a frightful fizzy tablet (Alka-Seltzer) and watch as the effervescent bubbles make those shriveled bat brains dance. Students record reactions before and after adding the tablets, as well as the difference in movement between the raisins and marshmallows (or any other items you wish to put into the mixture). Add math into this experiment by having students time, count, and/or measure the “bouncing” of the items in the liquid.

    Spooky Snacks: Use clean petri dishes as containers for Jell-O. Before the Jell-O solidifies, drop in gummy worms or other gross edibles to make them look like bacteria growing in the dishes! NOTE: Verify any food allergies, sensitivities, or dietary restrictions before serving any food in your classroom. 

    Molecule Munchies: Tie in 3-D geometry to party treats by having students craft molecule munchies. Using toothpicks and red and green grapes (pineapple, apple cubes, or cheese cubes also work), mad scientists create 3-D molecule shapes that tie in geometry skills. Have your students sketch their snack shapes, identify which 3-D figures they created (cube, rectangular prism, etc.), and then name how many sides, faces, and vertices their snack possesses.

    Werewolf Fur: Make Werewolf Fur as a project to experiment with heat-related changes in matter. First observe and record the states of matter of each ingredient (equal parts chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chow mein noodles) BEFORE mixing and cooking/cooling. Then proceed with the recipe and record your observations and changes in states of matter when ingredients are heated, mixed, scooped, and cooled.

     

    More Frighteningly Clever Ideas: Looking for more ways to easily integrate science into your Halloween party, month of October science lessons or other hands-on science activities? Make it simple and fun with these science resources from Scholastic: Soda Bottle Science, Sandwich Bag Science, and Coffee Can Science.

    Every class party we enjoy is based around educational activities disguised as party pandemonium. Read on to see how we “put a spell” on literacy, math, and science with our Halloween Mad Science Spooktacular.

    Set a Scientifically Spooky Scene: Gather beakers, jars, test tubes, and cylinders. Fill with water and add food coloring or drop a neon glow stick into each. Add fake snakes, bugs, and even eyeballs into each container. Kick it up a notch by dropping pieces of dry ice into everything on display that is containing water.

    Turn this décor into a teachable moment by asking students to identify each scientific container and its purpose. Measure water into each, calculate the volume of items you drop into the containers by the amount each water level rises once the items are added, and have your scientists make hypotheses about what the mystery material is that you dropped into each container (dry ice).

    CAUTION: Dry ice is harmful to bare skin. Be VERY CAUTIOUS when transporting and handling dry ice and always keep it out of reach of your students. Wear protective, coated gloves when you handle the material to drop it into each container.

    Candy Corn Connections: Students pair up to read Halloween tales together. Two favorites are The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything and The Ugly Pumpkin. As they read, students search for text-to-self (TTS) connections. Students write about the following ways they connect to the story:

    1. In the book I can connect with . . . (top 1/3 of candy corn)

    2. In my own life this reminds me of . . . (middle 1/3 of candy corn)

    3. I understand the story better now because . . . (bottom 1/3 of candy corn)

    Once they record these TTS connections, they publish their answers on a tri-colored candy corn display easily constructed by gluing together roughly conical shapes cut from white, orange, and yellow construction paper. The TTS Candy Corn Connections look amazing and show how much the students learned from the stories!

     

    Bat Bone Powder and Spider Spit: Before our party, we engaged in foundational hands-on science experiments as a culminating project to our states of matter science unit.

    At our party, students measured and combined baking soda and vinegar to create an "explosion." Everyone loved how combining a solid and liquid could create a gas based on a chemical reaction. As they experimented, each mini-scientist recorded his/her observations and made predictions about how/why the chemical reaction happened as it did.

    Ghoulish Goo: It’s alive!! . . . but what is it? Is it a solid or a liquid, or continuously changing? We dug our hands in to find out! Parent volunteers led students in a slime-making activity. Hold the goo in your hand and it's a liquid, ROLL it in your hands and it morphs into a solid. I found several different slime recipes here. Have your mad scientists measure ingredients, mix the slime, then record the steps to the experiments and their observations about the chemical reaction and changes in states of matter that occurred as they engaged with their goo.

    Bubbling Cauldron: Students begin simply with water in a clear cup and then add different objects such as raisins and marshmallows to see what happens (you can label them fun names like shriveled bat brains and mummy-mallows). Then, they add a frightful fizzy tablet (Alka-Seltzer) and watch as the effervescent bubbles make those shriveled bat brains dance. Students record reactions before and after adding the tablets, as well as the difference in movement between the raisins and marshmallows (or any other items you wish to put into the mixture). Add math into this experiment by having students time, count, and/or measure the “bouncing” of the items in the liquid.

    Spooky Snacks: Use clean petri dishes as containers for Jell-O. Before the Jell-O solidifies, drop in gummy worms or other gross edibles to make them look like bacteria growing in the dishes! NOTE: Verify any food allergies, sensitivities, or dietary restrictions before serving any food in your classroom. 

    Molecule Munchies: Tie in 3-D geometry to party treats by having students craft molecule munchies. Using toothpicks and red and green grapes (pineapple, apple cubes, or cheese cubes also work), mad scientists create 3-D molecule shapes that tie in geometry skills. Have your students sketch their snack shapes, identify which 3-D figures they created (cube, rectangular prism, etc.), and then name how many sides, faces, and vertices their snack possesses.

    Werewolf Fur: Make Werewolf Fur as a project to experiment with heat-related changes in matter. First observe and record the states of matter of each ingredient (equal parts chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chow mein noodles) BEFORE mixing and cooking/cooling. Then proceed with the recipe and record your observations and changes in states of matter when ingredients are heated, mixed, scooped, and cooled.

     

    More Frighteningly Clever Ideas: Looking for more ways to easily integrate science into your Halloween party, month of October science lessons or other hands-on science activities? Make it simple and fun with these science resources from Scholastic: Soda Bottle Science, Sandwich Bag Science, and Coffee Can Science.

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