In the science unit on “plant and animal reproduction” our 5th and 6th grade students developed a model to compare the probability of spawning success in two scenarios:
1) all the fish spawning takes place during one night or
2) the group of fish are divided into five sections with each section’s spawning activity taking place over the five consecutive nights.
Read on to find out the results of the study...
Students were grouped into pairs to conduct both scenarios and collect data to determine which yielded the higher level of fertilization. They used paper clips to simulate the fish, randomly tossing clips into the pond one by one counting the number of pairs touching which represented the fertilization activity. Though each group had different results, they all led to the same conclusion – that the species maximized probability of fertilization when spawning took place all at the same time.
This exercise enabled students to integrate mathematics into the scientific method where students develop hypotheses, simulations, results and conclusions to answer essential questions. Finally, this also expanded students’ Spanish vocabulary in learning new words such as “spawning” or “desolvar”.