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Got a minute? Try this experiment
For students in Chris Tarling’s sixth-grade science class at Federal Way Public Academy, one minute was the make-or-break mark.
The students all had the assignment to create a “one-minute timer.” The project taught unit measurement.
“They have to use the scientific process,” Tarling said. “They discover it while they are doing it. Sometimes it’s not working and they have to think, ‘How do I fix that?’”
Students’ ideas ranged from sand or water timers in a sort of hourglass idea to devices created with magnetic toys to sinking a boat. Times for the devices also ranged from 25 seconds to a minute and a half. Owen Ishii’s sand hourglass timer got it right, at exactly 60 seconds.
“It’s a basic sand timer,” Ishii said. “I had a problem with the amount of sand. I had to change it over and over.” The class burst into applause when the time was announced.
One device that was almost spot on was that of Marta Frost. She used thick syrup in a jar and a jelly bean. Once Frost submerged the jelly bean, it took one minute and one second to reach the “one minute” mark she had drawn on the jar.
This was Tarling’s sixth year doing the timers assignment. She said many of the older kids will stop and look and talk about how they remember doing that same assignment.
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