Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What is a Scientist?

There are very few careers where wearing a wig and causing a ruckus is acceptable from time to time. Thankfully, I've got the kind of job that supports my wacky ideas and wig purchasing obsession. If you've been a follower of my blog, you may remember about my Isaac Newton experience here. At first, many thought George Washington was wandering the halls but I quickly informed all that I was Isaac Newton. 

Fast forward to today: I decided to dress up like a mad scientist to play on the stereotype of a "scientist". As one of our beginning lessons in science, we ask the question, "What is a scientist?" The students draw a picture of their mental image of a scientist and then we share the responses. MOST of the time, students are drawing pictures of wild looking individuals in laboratories blowing things up. I'll admit, I participated in this lesson in college as an undergrad.... and I drew the same thing. 

Today I decided to really play up that stereotype and perform it live. My little show involved kool-aid and alka-seltzer tablets as well. There was red foamy water overflowing everywhere! Before Professor Magnifying Glass ran out of the room screaming about an invention (after climbing on tables), "he" gave the assignment to draw a picture of a scientist in their notebooks.

Professor Magnifying Glass

When I returned to the room a minute later, I instructed the students to draw their mental image of a scientist. Yes, many of them were thinking of Professor Magnifying Glass! After students had time to draw, we met on the carpet and started talking about our sketches. 

Next, we started listing other careers and fields where scientists work - hey! It turns out, we're all scientists in 5th grade as well. Several students were explaining how their parents and family members use science on a daily basis as well. 

Tomorrow we'll continue our discussion about scientists and spend the next two days talking about Galileo and Newton. I think I'll leave the wig in the drawer tomorrow. :)


  1. You are hilarious! Your kids must have loved that lesson!

    Forever in Fifth Grade

  2. Love, love, love this! I did a similar activity when I taught 5th grade, but never took it so far as to dress up and do an experiment! Pinning it for next year!! So fun and enlightening for the kids!

  3. I am so jealous! You may have just inspired me to be a better science teacher!


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