While what I do with my students is described below, any science student may find these discrepant events useful.
Often at the beginning of a topic, students will either observe a demonstration or watch a video or be given a description of a discrepant event. These Discrepant Events are thought provoking and based on either real-life situations I, or others, have come across, or they come from puzzler-type books or web pages collected over the years. So, don’t be surprised if you find these or similar problems elsewhere, in a book or another website. After sufficient materials have been covered, they are challenged to explain it.
My own students would have from a few days to about a week to struggle with it. Within that period, they should be able to explain the discrepant event on their own using the materials covered and/or the resources provided in the class or with a little bit of research. They are free to talk to members of their family, other folks, and even other sources, like the Internet. Should they consult other sources, they MUST both reference and document them.
Every discrepant event will test their ability to communicate using scientific language and to apply their knowledge and understanding of MYP science course content to explain real-world phenomenon. In other words, their ability to think critically, the very attribute we expect of scientists. The write-up, therefore, cannot just be a rehash of what someone else has told them or what they found elsewhere; it must display their understanding of all three aspects of the exercise: concepts involved, the problem and the solution. As such, these write-ups will be assessed on Criterion B (Communication) and Criteria C (Knowledge and Understanding). Check the task-specific rubrics for details.
The write-ups would be in the appropriate format.
A sample discrepant event and write up has been included in this blog to guide students.
MYP Year 4 Chemistry Discrepant Events
- Magical Candle: About gaseous behavior.
- Hair Brain Chemistry: An observation and deduction exercise on the patterns of reactivity.
- Water Bottle Explosion: About state of matter, energy and pressure.
- Dancing Coin: About state of matter.
- Uncanny Can: About state of matter.
- Plastic Bottle Canons: An observation and deduction exercise about elements in the periodic table.
- Rubbery Egg: About state of matter.
- Fun with Liquid Nitrogen: About energy and state of matter.
- Blow Hot Blow Cold: About energy.
MYP Year 4 Physics Discrepant Events
- Light Entertainment I: About refraction but the simplest of the four.
- Light Entertainment II: About refraction but considerably more challenging than I.
- Light Entertainment III: About refraction but a little different from the above two.
- Light Entertainment IV: About refraction but the most challenging of the four.
- Hot Day: About energy and energy transfers.
- Accident in Space: About Newton’s Laws of Motion.
- Propelling the Boat: About Newton’s Laws of Motion
MYP Year 5 Chemistry Discrepant Events
- Plastic bottle Cannons: An observation and deduction exercise about elements in the periodic table and Stoichiometry (Quantitative Chemistry).
- Magical Beakers: About acid-base chemistry.
- Magical Crystals: About ion-exchange/precipitation/double displacement reaction.
- Cracking Crackers: About redox reactions.
- Sugar Daddy…with Flare: About Redox Reactions and Stoichiometry (Quantitative Chemistry)
- Gunpowder: Ideal Mixture: About Stoichiometry (Quantitative Chemistry)
MYP Year 5 Physics Discrepant Events
- Bottle and Coin: About inertia.
- Gravity and the Moon: About gravity…as the title says.
- The Pendulum: About falling bodies.
- The Chicken Truck: About mass, gravity and weight.
- The Falling Elevator: About weight and gravity.
- Frozen Over: About energy and energy transfer.
- From Fermi to the Frying Pan: About boiling point and cooking.
- Don’t lick that tray: About energy and energy transfer.