Reflection: ELL Students Learning About Science Tools - Section 3: Guided Practice


When writing this lesson I thought that by placing students in heterogeneous groups,I would be allowing the higher level students to assist some of the struggling students.  I found that there were many obstacles for the struggling students in this activity.  One thing I observed was the lack of understanding for summarizing.  I told students before beginning the videos that they should summarize the key points by pulling out the key information from the sentence.  As I rotated, I noticed that most students were recording all of the information word for word which was taking some of the slower writers quite some time.  This caused them to either say they were done, and not get all of the key information, or for those waiting to get inpatient.  The majority of students who were struggling with copying the notes were ESE or ELL students.  You will notice in the video that I rotated, I began asking students to tell me how they would summarize the key point.  

To address this long pause time when recording the notes, I adjusted the lesson by asking the groups to watch the video a second time after recording the notes.  This time they watched it straight through just listening.  I believe this helped retain information.  

I also noticed that the higher students excelled when it came time to teaching others about their tool, while others struggled.  Part of this was due to lack of notes written, some was due to being shy, some may have been due to a lack of understanding about how to properly use the tool and not wanted to ask their expert group for help.   

If I were to do this lesson over, I would differentiate by use ability grouping for the expert groups by placing middle and high level students together.  They would work independently, completing the lesson in the same format as planned.  I would assign these groups to the tools that are more difficult to use such as the measuring tape, balance, and graduated cylinder.  

The struggling students, and those who appear shy in class, will work in groups together with a modified format for note taking.  I would assign them to the two tools that are easiest to use, the thermometer and the microscope.  I would rotate between these two groups walking them through how to use it, and asking them to repeat some of the key points for me.  This allows them to hear the key points several times, and practice providing information about the tool so it will be easier for them when they begin teaching others.    

  Varying ability levels in expert groups
  ELL Students: Varying ability levels in expert groups
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Learning About Science Tools

Unit 1: Scientists at Work
Lesson 1 of 16

Objective: SWBAT identify tools used by scientists and be able to use them appropriately.

Big Idea: Students become experts on how to properly use the tools commonly used by scientists.

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Science, Differentiation, Scientific Method (Science Skills), tools, Cooperative Groups, engineering
  60 minutes
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