Observations are very important in Science. We make them all time. One of the things I do at the beginning of each year is to help my students become aware of the observations they make throughout every day.
A favorite lab activity that I like to start each year with is M&M Observations. Students work in pairs for this activity. Depending on your class size, you could have students do this individually as well.
Each pair is given a petri dish and is asked to choose two different colored M&M's. This is part of the reason I like to allow students to work in pairs for this particular activity. They can each choose a color.
At this point, we state the question for today's activity. What will happen when we place two different colored M&M in water? Students write down their predictions as I walk around and fill their petri dishes with water.
Students are then instructed to inspect their M&M's to make sure there is a M on each one...or at least something, doesn't have to be the complete the M. If there is nothing there, I replace their M&M.
They then place the two M&M's M side up in opposite sides of the petri dish. All that is left at this point is to wait and watch. I ask students to draw with colored pencils what they are observing. We then talk about what happened and how different colors act differently. One of our favorite observations is that the M comes off and most often floats in the water. That is a big discussion. What in the world is that M made of? I let them make their guesses, but I never tell them. I have only had one student guess correctly in all the times I've done this activity. Their homework for the evening is to research what the M is made of.
I'll go ahead and tell you...it's wax.
It's a fun little activity. If you would like a copy of my lab sheet for this activity, email me and I will be happy to email you a copy.