Reflection: Problem-based Approaches Exploring Magnetic Levitation - Section 6: Evaluate

A surprising thing happened when I switched to authentic based conclusions. Grading was no longer such a chore. When I read 100 of the same assignment, it becomes drudgery. I started to switch things up and I began to add the questions, "How can your data be used in the real world?" and "Who can use your data?" There were some surprising answers so I started to dig deeper.

In the Magnetic Levitation conclusion, students are asked to consider a new transportation system for the year 2040. I told them their audience is a group of engineers working on bringing the Magnetic Levitation trains to Chicago. "Write your conclusion so the engineers will know what to expect in their tests." I've begun using a strategy of authenticity in all science conclusions. The writing has improved tenfold because there is a legitimate reason for writing. The students think about the labs and report on what should be done better. In addition I ask student to use science transition words. Using transitional words and phrases helps to improve the flow of writing. There are specific science transitions that can be used successfully. Students use; "the data indicated", "in the analysis", "The results suggest" etc. I also teach fun transition words; surprisingly, interestingly, amazingly. I have seen an increase in the length of the conclusions as well as in the vocabulary used. The best news is the conclusions are a joy to read because every student voice is different. Check out student conclusions for samples in the Evaluate Section.

Science Conclusions
Problem-based Approaches: Science Conclusions

Exploring Magnetic Levitation

Unit 2: Generating Energy
Lesson 4 of 5

Big Idea: Watch as your students experience the magic of magnetics while exploring a futuristic transportation modality.

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165 minutes

Sydney Schuler

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