Compiling the Final Science Fair Paper
Lesson 9 of 13
Objective: SWBAT identify the key elements of a research report and compile their own report based on their own experiment.
As the students enter the room, they read the prompt on the board and are expected to follow the instructions. The prompt asks the students to take out their abstracts from the prior class and trade them with a neighbor. The neighbor is then supposed to check that the abstract contains an introduction, procedures, data, and a conclusion. This provides the students with another set of eyes reviewing their abstract, and it gives the students an opportunity to engage in discussions about their work. As the students work, I circulate through the room and listen to their conversations, guiding or redirecting them as necessary.
I ask the students to open the science fair final report checklist. I review each item from the list with them, explaining my expectations and how the final paper should be compiled. I also spend time explaining how they should complete the acknowledgements portion of the paper, since this is one of the few items they have not already completed in class.
In addition to reviewing the items in class with the students, I also have video instructions for them. This video provides an explanation for how to complete the acknowledgements section.
I created this video for my students to help them create their variables and hypothesis section.
Some of the students had a difficult time understanding how to create a table of contents, so I created this video for them to use as a reference.
After I have addressed general questions about the project, the students work independently on compiling their final paper. While they are working on the paper, I meet with each student to review their abstract. During this meeting, I ask the students to identify the four primary sections that must be included in their abstract (introduction, procedures, results, conclusion). If a student is unable to identify a section, I ask him/her if the information is necessary. If it is not necessary information, I ask them to remove the section. If a section is not present, I discuss with the student what is missing and I ask them to describe the information for their experiment that would fit into that section. I've found that "talking it out" helps the student to unwrap their thinking, and prepares them for writing.
Once I have met with each student, I circulate through the room to assess student progress on putting together the final paper. The students had difficulty with understanding how to create a table of contents. I lead a quick review of the purpose of a table of contents and have the students look for examples in textbooks and in online documents. That is not the end of the exploration. Next, they share the examples they find with the rest of the class. I do this for a few reasons. One, it acts like a jigsaw reading - students look at different types or have different ways of expressing what they are taking away from their exploration. This helps everyone to deepen their understanding. Also, I do this because it holds students accountable for doing a thorough job of exploring different tables of content.
I then demonstrate how to create the table of contents on the SMARTBoard. After class, I record a demonstration video for the students and post it to Google classroom for them to refer to during study hall or at home.