It appears the makers of one the school district's science textbooks have a few things to learn from the 5th graders at Destin Middle School.
When making her lesson plans, science teacher Dawn Pack came across a mistake in the students' textbook "ScienceFusion," published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The book claimed that when saltwater in the oceans, seas and gulfs evaporates, the salt evaporates with the water. It further claims that clouds form by water condensing on small piece of dust and salt in the atmosphere.
"It's physically impossible for salt to evaporate with water, just because of the bonding properties of salt and water," Pack told The Log.
After realizing the mistake, and confirming it with university professors, Pack gave her students a mission: prove their textbook wrong on the issue of salt evaporating with water.
The students started with research, learning more about the water cycle and the formation of salt and water. Then, they found experiments they could run to test their hypothesis.
"We tested several different evaporation experiments where they either mixed salt with water and evaporated it, checking the salinity before and after, or they took water samples that we had gathered and tested the salinity before and after evaporation," Pack said.
They also boiled Gulf water and captured the evaporated water. When they tested the evaporated water, it had a salinity of almost zero.
With the experiments complete and the results backing their hypothesis, the students are now preparing a summary and presentations to send to the book publisher. Pack said students have been very enthusiastic about the opportunity to prove their book authors wrong.
"They are thrilled," Pack said.
Students will meet from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. at Destin Middle School Dec. 6 to further organize their presentations for the textbook publisher.