Flipping Some Bottles Reflections

Last week my class did the Bottle Flipping Challenge. You can find out more about the lesson here: Flipping Some Bottles

It was so much fun! My students had a blast and learned so much! We were collecting data, graphing, learning about probability, scientific inquiry, and measurement. This is the exact reason why I love project-based learning so much. It takes real-life situations (ok, so you may never flip a bottle in your adult life….but to kids it is definitely real-life!) and connects them with curriculum and standards in a fun and engaging way. What makes it even better is that I’ve never seen a great project based learning experience that didn’t hit at least 5 different standards across the curriculum. It’s amazing that we aren’t doing more of this in schools!

After having gone through the Bottle Flipping experience, I do have some insights and reflections that I want to share with you:

  1. Make sure to label the water bottles with the bottle number AND the number of milliliters that will be in that bottle.
  2. Start with the smallest number of milliliters in bottle #1 and go up to the largest amount of milliliters in bottle #15. This will give your graph more of a trend look than a random one. I started with 100 ml and went up to 300 ml since I had 500 ml water bottles.
  3. Model for students how to go from bottle to bottle and where to keep track of the data. I had modeled it for my students in the classroom but when we went out to the playground, a few of them got confused. I told them they did not need to go in order from #1-15 but they did need to make sure that their data is on the correct line. Unfortunately, a few of my students started at #1 (even if they were at bottle #13) and went straight down the page not paying any attention to the bottle numbers. Luckily they wrote down the ml amounts so we could figure it out!
  4. Make sure to have some time for students to finish up before going on to the class totals. I had about 6 kids who did not get done flipping the bottles during the amount of time they were given originally so I had to have them finish the next day.
  5. Next time I think I will have students fill out a google form (or something similar) with their information so as to collect the class totals. This time I had them hold up the number on their fingers and I had to do a TON of mental math. Needless to say, I was exhausted by the end of that lesson!

Overall, I think the lesson was definitely a success and the kids will remember it for a long time! I’m excited to do it again next year!

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Flipping Some Bottles

I am SO gyaylad that state testing is over!! I’m not shy about how much I dislike the state testing. How much time it takes from learning, how it’s not developmentally appropriate, how it doesn’t provide information that informs my teaching like assessments should. Now that it’s over, we can get back to our regularly scheduled amazing learning experiences!!

This week I’m teaching measurement. I will be honest: measurement is not my strong suit. I can’t ever remember liters, quarts, pints, etc. and it makes me crazy! So…I decided to spice it up and make it fun! Both for my own benefit and for my students! As I thought about what to do about measuring milliliters, I looked at the curriculum. It only had worksheets with pictures of things asking what unit of measurement you would use to measure the water in a bathtub or in a bucket. This is probably how I learned to measure and why, to this day, I am unable to decipher between a quart and a pint (shh! Don’t tell anyone!). I knew I had to make measuring hands on and fun or my students will turn out like me, heaven forbid!

So, I decided to have a Bottle Flipping Challenge. The great thing about hands on, project-based learning is that you are never just teaching one thing! During the Bottle Flipping Challenge, my students will not only be measuring milliliters but we will also be collecting data, creating graphs, and discussing probability. That kind of stuff just makes my teacher heart flutter!

Here’s the plan (feel free to use any or all of it….stealing is welcomed around here):

First, students will get into partners. They will be given a water bottle with a number on it (I’m numbering my water bottles 1-15 for tracking purposes), a post-it with a certain amount of milliliters (ex. 45ml), and a beaker that measure milliliters. As partners, students will measure out the amount of water they were given on the post-it note into the beaker, dump out the rest of the water in the sink and refill their water bottle with the specific amount that they measured out. (I could have measured out each water bottle on my own but this way students are actually getting a chance to practice measuring to the milliliter and have a hand in setting up the project)

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.13.06 AMNext, we will set out all of the 15 water bottles on the playground. Each water bottle will be labeled with the bottle number and the # of milliliters of water inside the bottle. Students will need their clipboard, pencil, and their data sheet:

PDF: Bottle Flip Challenge

Once students have their things, they will be able to go to each water bottle and flip each one 5 times. Students do not have to go in number order. As they flip their bottles, they will need to write out how many milliliters of water each bottle has and keep track of how many successful throws and epic fails they have for each one.

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.17.27 AMAfter all of the flipping of bottles is finished, we will come back to the classroom to take a look at our data. As a class we will add up all of our successful throws and our epic fails for each bottle and record them on this sheet:

PDF: Bottle Flip Challenge Class Totals

Once we have the totals for each of the 15 bottles, students will flip their sheet over and graph the successful throws for each bottle. When the graphing is done, we will be able to easily pick out which bottle was most successful,Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 8.33.18 PM which was least successful, and discuss why we think we had these results. Here is the graphing paper we will use:

PDF:Bottle Flip Challenge Class Totals Bar Graph

We will be doing this project over a period of two days. I’ve never tried this before so I can’t wait to see if it actually pans out! But that is part of the fun isn’t it? Being creative and taking risks? I think so!! I  will be writing a follow up to this post once we do our project later this week. I’m looking forward to sharing how it went and letting you in on some insights to making it even better!

I have had so much fun just planning and setting up this project and I know that when I have fun teaching, my students will have fun learning!