Reflection: Student Ownership Student Designed Lab: Planning an Experiment - Section 4: Independent Exploration


I have found that the procedure that students write and the procedure they follow are not identical.  While this makes sense because students should modify a procedure that does not work or include steps that were initially overlooked, I want students to get in the habit of documenting those changes since that is evidence of their thinking and learning during the experimental process.

To move students in this direction, I make sure to explain to students the idea that it is not only acceptable to modify their written plan, but it is expected.  I let them know that when I collect their experiment design guided notes that I am expecting to cross outs and edits because that shows me they were thinking and learning versus blindly following what they first planned.  I explain that this is the type of self-assessment/student ownership of work that I expect of my students.

I encourage students to strike through/cross out their changes rather than erase their original thoughts as it makes it easier for me to determine where any edits are made.  This is initially difficult for some of my students as many have lost points on projects in the past for having erasure marks on work.  I continually reinforce the idea that, while there are times when neatness matters, this is a time to celebrate those moments of insight that lead them to a better experimental design and follow-up ideas.

  Documenting Modifications
  Student Ownership: Documenting Modifications
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Student Designed Lab: Planning an Experiment

Unit 2: Introduction to Science and Engineering Practices
Lesson 4 of 7

Objective: SWBAT plan and carry out an independent investigation centered on a randomly chosen object.

Big Idea: Students create their own investigations based on object chosen from a big box of junk!

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  55 minutes
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