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Insights from the Intersection of Childhood and Education

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chanukah and Science Go Together

Exploring the miracle of Chanukah can entail many things – songs and storytelling come to mind, so do arts and crafts. But how about learning the scientific method?



In the Peach Room at Akiba-Schechter, the four-year-olds wondered how long oil usually lasts when it is burned. Together they created five oil-burning candles using simple supplies: aluminum containers, cooking string, cooking oil, copper wire, and matches. They twisted the wick holder, put the cooking string through the holder as the wick, poured in the oil and lit the candles. That was the arts and crafts part of the project.


Next, the children predicted how long the burning candles would last. Predictions were logged in a chart. Many of the Peach Room students thought the candles would last eight days. But as they observed the candles burning, they began to recognize that the candles easily go out or burn through the oil, so they revised their predictions.


In the end, the children's longest burning candle lasted for seven hours! This hands-on experiment helped the children better understand the great miracle of Chanukah, but it also just happened to introduce them to the idea of coming up with a hypothesis, setting up an experiment, gathering data, and examining the results.

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