Teaching science when you don’t know diddly-squat: Why does poop splash?DOWNLOAD FILE
March 2, 2017 - Author: Michigan State University Extension
- Modeling clay*
- Tape measure
- Kitchen scale
- Pans of varying shapes and sizes
- Corn, peanuts or other small bits of food (optional for extra grossness)
Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
- How far does the poop fall before it hits the water? Is it the same for all people? For all toilets? How can you tell?
- Can you make realistic poop that is sanitary to deal with for the experiment? Is all poop the same shape and size? How can you vary the consistency? (A medical chart, the Bristol Stool chart, describes some of the sizes and shapes (http://www.webmd. com/digestive-disorders/poop-chart-bristol-stool-scale). Try making model poop that simulates the different types of real poop.
- Can you make a poop of the same shape and size, with different density?
Planning and carrying out investigations
- Having a tape measure next to your pan of water can help record the splash height.
- Track the poop shape compared to the splash height as accurately as possible.
- Does a higher drop mean a higher splash? Predict what will happen and then test it.
- Does a heavier poop mean a higher splash? Predict what will happen and then test it.
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Is there any way to make your models for your poop or toilet basin more accurate?
- Is there a way to design a toilet to reduce or eliminate the amount of splash?
Engaging in argument from evidence
What made the biggest difference in the amount of splash? Discuss the reasons why.
Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Related questions to explore
- Are toilets around the world different than the ones in your home?
- Why does poop sometimes sink and sometimes float?
Science & Engineering Practices
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.