Reflection: Shared Expectations Absorption, Transmission, and Reflection: Creating Models - Section 4: Modeling "Mystery Box" Student Activity

 

At this point in the school year, we have spent time modeling and practicing what group expectations are.  Without shared expectations of the role of each group member, this activity can get away from the students.  With the variety of "fun" materials to use in so many different ways in the Mystery Box, without clear shared expectations, students can easily lose focus and end up "playing" with the materials without purpose.  

One option you could insert here is a "fishbowl". Once groups have identified their models for their first task and are ready to present, have the entire class watch one group go through the presentation part of this activity and point out positive behaviors and actions of the group members. I also like to give specific students in the group actions to display that are not effective group behaviors so that I can point that out as well.  

Some of the key aspects I have found in the group member expectations for this activity are:

1.  The only member of the group touching materials is the speaker.  Every other member must have their eyes on the speaker and their hands off the materials.  (I often tell one student to start hitting the tuning fork on the table and touching it to the nearest students binder while the speaker is presenting or have a student take the slinky and start shaking it do demonstrate a behavior that might prevent the speaker from effectively modeling.)

2.  The speaker must provide evidence.  Many students simply want to show their model and say, "This is reflection of light."  I emphasize and remind students that the "verb" from the skill we are targeting is "providing evidence".  The key to learning here is being able to verbalize the evidence in their model that explain their phenomena.  Coach group members to ask questions of the presenter if they are not clear with their evidence.  

3.  Be strategic in the rotation.  For some middle school students, logistics of a group does not come second nature.  I often have groups spend time debating who is going to go next.  I have the fishbowl group demonstrate how this can waste valuable learning time and how much smoother it goes if the students are sitting in a circle facing each other and each student just presents in order.

  Group member roles expectations are key!
  Shared Expectations: Group member roles expectations are key!
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Absorption, Transmission, and Reflection: Creating Models

Unit 1: Waves: An Introduction and Exploration of Wave Properties
Lesson 3 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to provide evidence that demonstrates that waves are transmitted, absorbed, and reflected.

Big Idea: By using a "Mystery Box" students create their own models of wave energy!

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Subject(s):
Waves, Science, absorption, reflection, transmission
  70 minutes
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