January 2018

Middle School Eighth-Graders Examine Freezing Point of Mystery Substance

Eighth-graders, who have been studying the characteristic properties of different substances in Jean Windels’ and Jennifer Zopp’s science classes, recently completed a laboratory experiment to solidify their knowledge.


Using wireless temperature probes, which were generously funded by the Bronxville School Foundation, the students worked in groups to investigate the freezing point of a mystery substance. Throughout the experiment, they heated their assigned substance, allowed it to cool and tracked the temperature until the substance froze or became a solid.


“The probes worked beautifully, and we didn’t have to worry about a multitude of wires snaking all over the lab,” said Windels, a science teacher and eighth-grade team leader. “Equipped with the freezing temperature of the substance, the students were able to figure out how many different substances were being tested and which groups had the same substance.”


The students will use these same skills when they tackle the annual “sludge” test at the end of January. During a weeklong collaboration, they will receive a sample of “sludge,” containing a mixture of liquid and solid components, and will be tasked with separating the substances based on their characteristic properties, including boiling point, freezing and melting point, density and solubility.


The science experiment fostered the students’ critical thinking skills and allowed them to engage in self-directed learning.



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