A la Dan Meyer‘s Three-Act Tasks, I’d like to try a few science-related ones. I think a lot of Mr. Meyer’s scenarios could be science-y, but in the context of math class, they’re math-y. Actually, his method for creating the Task is pretty close to Scientific Method, i.e., observe a Thing, wonder, test. Booya! science for the WIN!
Maybe this is just a version of discrepant events. This particular one isn’t terribly discrepant, but maybe it’s a little strange. Here’s the first (I hope) of a series I’m going to call, “What’s the Problem?”
Act 1: Observations and Hook
There are a lot of possible questions here. It’s almost toward a 101qs-type thing instead of a particular task.
Act 2: Questions, Possibilities, Resources
- List all of the parts seen in the video. List other characteristics of the hourglasses.
- Why so many hourglasses?
- How long do they run?
- Are they supposed to be the same time length?
- Is the one with the most sand the longest?
- Does the sand fall at the same rate for each hourglass?
- Hourglasses each have a clear barrel, black end-caps, and some amount of sand. Characteristics that might differ include the width of the barrel, the width of the narrow opening between top and bottom.
- There’s a board game that came with these ten hourglasses.
- They vary in timing-duration from 25 seconds to 1:07 minutes, according to my stopwatch.
- They are all supposed to be one minute timers.
- The one with the most sand is not the longest timer-length (it runs about 1 minute) The one with the least amount of sand, however, is the shortest.
- Sand does not appear to fall at the same rate (the shortest duration hourglass appears to pile up more quickly than the rest).
Act 3: Resolution and Continuation
In order, the duration of the hourglasses looks something like this:
0:25, 0:50, 1:00 (x3), 1:01, 1:02, 1:04 (x2), 1:07
Note: that the amount of sand does not appear to increase consistently as duration increases
- Only three of the ten hourglasses actually run for one minute (although two others run 1:01 and 1:02).
- How might this potentially affect game play for the board game?
- Why doesn’t the amount of sand seem to matter for duration (i.e., other factors in falling sand)?
- Could we make them all into the one-minute timers with current materials?
- If we could open all of the timers and make them equal duration, what would that time be?
- How might these hourglasses have been made in the first place, since they are not terribly accurate?
- Would weighing them help?
- How would a different grit of sand help or hurt?
- Would a different color of sand help the stopwatch-holder (and board-game-player) see the endpoints better?