Sinking, melting and the Dead Sea

 In our lessons we try to combine scientific experiments with some interesting information concerning the world. This time we have decided to familiar kids with an idea of sinking and floating, and tell them a bit about the Dead Sea.

Prior knowledge  – Cognition/Communication

TIME: 10 mins

Ask Ss to walk around the classroom and bring a few objects they might throw into water. Beforehand, prepare a large, transparent bowl filled with water.
Ask Ss to classify the objects into two categories - what will float and what will sink in their opinion.
The good idea will be to prepare two big writings or containers where they could place the objects. Ask them to name each of the objects.

TASK 1 – Cognition/Communication/Content

 TIME: 10 mins

Ask Ss to drop the objects one after another into the bowl to observe whether they float or sink. Ss should now check if their guesses were correct. If not, they should place the objects on the right side.

TASK 2 - Cognition/Communication/Content

 TIME: 2 mins

Tell your students why things float or sink. Below we put a scientific explanation of the phenomenon. Definitely the adjustment to your Ss' level of English will be required.

Things float or sink because of density. Density is a measure of how much mass per volume; we use grams (g) per cubic centimetre (cc). Fresh water has a density of t, that is, 1 gram per cc. If an object has a density less than 1, it floats. If it has a density greater than 1, if sinks. For example, iron has a density of 7.8, so it would sink.

TASK 3 - Cognition/Communication/Content

TIME: 10 mins

Add some salt to the water. Repeat the experiment. Are there any changes? Notice that the more salt you add, the more objects float. Explain that salt increases density of water.
IMPORTANT! Remember to do this part of the lesson beforehand to test whether you have an object that will actually stop sinking after adding salt to the water. That might be a grape etc. If you don't have such one, think about doing a different experiment, e.g. with an egg.

TASK 4 - Cognition/Communication/Content

TIME: 10 mins

Present visual material (photos) and a map. And talk about the Dead Sea. Information adjusted to kids' level of English you can find below. If it is still too difficult remember that in CLIL the use of L1 in such situations is allowed.


TASK 5 - Communication/Culture

TIME: 5 mins

Ss are divided into groups of 5-8 people. One person in each groups lies on the floor, the rest lifts him/her up to the hip level. Teacher accompanies to secure safety. the idea is to let them feel as if they were lying on the surface of the Dead Sea. You can swing a person to make a storm ;)

In our case this was a group of 9 children so we played all together. This task was the best ingredient of the lesson. Everyone had fun that you can see in the photos.

TASK 6 - Communication/Content

TIME: 10 mins

Ts can prepare an oral or written test based on the content presented during the lesson then ask Ss to do it at the lesson as a form of evaluation. The test to be checked together.


Ts distribute the printouts from Science 2 by Macmillan and ask Ss to do the exercises. Group evaluation.
We have decided to do the other one and it hit the jackpot. This book was very helpful to gather all the information from the lesson.


Otzi and melting ice

In our school we are just starting a new age of CLIL lessons. What you can see below is a pilot of a series of 100% CLIL course, aimed at children aged 10-12 who are interested in English but also science and geography. Together with two other teachers we are introducing a completely revolutionary programme. Apart from CLIL methodology we use LEGO blocks in our experiments. The first meeting was about Otzi, the Iceman, and melting the ice by means of various substances. 

Prior knowledge – HOTS and LOTS – Cognition/Communication 

TIME: 10 mins  

We asked our Ss some questions checking their knowledge and understanding.
What is water? 
What happens when you boil water? 
What happens when you freeze water? 
Why do people freeze things? What do you have in your freezer? 
How do you defrost goods? 
Where is it cold – in the Arctic or in Africa? What about high mountains? 
What is an iceberg?  
Have you heard about Otzi, the Iceman? http://www.iceman.it/en/oetzi-the-iceman 

TASK 1  – Content/Communication 

TIME: 10-15 mins 

Time to present Otzi, the Iceman. Information about him was taken from www.iceman.it. Before the lesson we prepared a handout for more advanced students. This time we worked with a younger group so we prefered to talk to them. Afterwards, Maciej, our bilingual tutor, asked the children several questions about what they had just heard.

TASK 2 – Content/Communication/Cognition

TIME: 35-40 mins 
In pairs/groups: We asked students to guess which substances would help them melt ice. We wanted them to take out the LEGO men intact as the Iceman had had his hip broken during this procedure in 1991.  They had to fill in the worksheet with their guesses. After the experiment they checked the outcomes and we compared the results. Ts explained why salt melts the ice and to make it more understandable we played a game where a part of the students were salt molecules and the rest were water ones. It was great fun!

TASK 3 – Cognition/Communication - HOMEWORK 

We also thought about homework. This time as it was a pilot lesson we changed the idea slightly and did it together in a form of oral presentations.

To practise past forms of verbs: Imagine the Legoman you have found is an iceman. Draw a picture of him/her and write/say a few words about himhis skills, life, abilities. OR describe what happened just before he died. 
To practise present verb forms: Imagine the Legoman you have found is an iceman. Draw a picture of him/her and write/say a few words about himwhat does his everyday life look like?