Pole vaulting, the balance beam, sculling, the backstroke. On the surface, it doesn’t sound like what you’d find inside a sixth-grade science class.
Fresh off their winter break, students at Highland Middle School found themselves competing in the Olympics.
Louisville Water put its own spin on the games: the H2Olympics!
Over the course of a week, each sixth-grade science class divided into four teams to conquer four different water exercises. Aimed to be fun, the Project WET lessons taught them about adhesion and cohesion.
“They had different events that illustrated these different properties. They got to be hands-on and involved in their learning,” said Louisville Water Education and Outreach Specialist, Heather Hill.
For pole vaulting, students filled a cup with water to the rim. They added pennies one at a time until the water overflowed. Then it was on to the balance beam where kids used an eye dropper to cover the pennies with water, one drop at a time.
“I went really slow and took really little drops of water. That was my strategy,” said Anyla, a sixth-grader who fit a whopping 57 drops on her penny!
Students got a closer look at water in the backstroke event. They piled paper clips onto a plastic fork, lowered it into a bowl, and used a magnifying glass to observe the water surface.
Then it was off to the races. A tinfoil boat race, of course! Each team divided in two. They made their boats and placed them in tubs of water to set sail. A student from each side took a cotton swab dabbed with dish soap, put it behind their boat, and watched as the introduction of soap molecules pushed the boats toward the finish line.
“This is fun!” one student exclaimed.
“When you add that element of competition, sixth-graders really get into it,” Hill said.
Only one team per class floated to the top to clinch a gold medal, but it’s safe to say most of the students had fun learning about the science of water. We call that a win.