This week in MYP science, students were able to explore the power of models in scientific communication. Models can be particularly beneficial in illustrating phenomena that are beyond our capacity to observe directly, and learning how to create an accurate model that conveys information in a relatable way is of tremendous benefit in the science classroom. As an added benefit, it provides a great opportunity for students to flex their creative muscles.
Most models of our solar system fail to convey the vastness of our galactic neighborhood or the relative size of the objects within it. To rectify this, our 6th grade students are creating virtual models of the solar system. They chose a scaling factor for their models based on the size of the sun and used this proportion to calculate the sizes of, and distances between, the planets. In order to create the model accurately in a setting people would be familiar with, they are constructing their models as custom Google maps, with the sun plopped firmly in Soundview’s parking lot.
The 7th and 8th grades are approaching their model-making project from a different angle by modeling something very small. By constructing 3-dimensional models of plant and animal cells, they hope to illustrate the relative anatomy and function of these biological building blocks.