Taking science outdoors is a favorite activity for River Forest Middle School teacher Jory Mathews.
The first science experiment of the new school year took his sixth graders outdoors with a yard stick and a bouncey ball. It was day two of an experiment that had started inside the classroom.
“When we were in the classroom yesterday, we bounced the ball on the classroom floor to measure how high the ball bounced. Today, you can try different surfaces outside including concrete, dirt, brick, pavement and grass.”
Mathews explained that they were to find which surface allows the ball to bounce higher. He told the students he wanted them to understand how to conduct a science experiment. They should understand terms like variables, hypothesis, matter, motion, and earth science.
“Science is everywhere around you,” he said.
“Cellphones used to be science fiction; now we take them everywhere we go. There’s science in the fact that you can flip a switch and get light. Anytime you flush a toilet, that’s science. Even those low-top and high-top gym shoes you like so much are science,” he told them.
“Those shoes are not just cool to look at,” Mathews said, “but they are designed to be comfortable and safe for your feet. Science is in everything you do.”