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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