My husband watched the first video below and said that he did not remember ever having an experience like this in science where kids were able to talk, experiment, and do...and have fun. He commented on the activity level and noise level right away. I found his response interesting. The system is set up for teacher-centered learning. Who is doing the learning is the question I ask myself as I plan lessons. I try to think 'student-centered' and push myself to set up opportunities for the kids to DO.
The kids had time to choose, create, and write their own experiments by themselves or in groups of up to 4. These two videos are from the day they actually carried out the experiments. The student-created experiments using a WIDE variety of things including, but not limited to, the following: Skittles, chocolate, marshmallows, hammers, cars, timers, M&M's, bubbles, straws, bubble gum, water, beakers, and graduated cylinders. Wow! The experiments are more relevant to each kid (differentiation) than any one experiment I would set up for all of them.
Here is a student talking about his experiment! :)
Here is a picture from one of the M&M experiments! Interesting how the color swirled off the M&M! Science can be beautiful!