Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Dunking for Density Investigation (Part 1/2) - Section 2: Engage


KWL charts or KLEW charts are a neat graphic organizer strategy that taps into students' prior knowledge, curiosity and helps them reflect on their learning after instruction. This is a common, simple and effective strategy:

KWL: Know-Want to Know-Learned

Resources: NEA Teaching Strategies, Read Write Think KWL Printout and Eduplace KWL Organizer

Example from this investigation: Dunking for Density KWL Student Work

KLEW: Know-Learning-Evidence-Wonder

Resources: NSTA Evidence Helps the KWL Get a KLEW, KLEW Chart

These simple organizers are a high-leverage strategy. What I mean by this, is that teachers (and students) get a higher level of positive learning benefits than the amount of time and energy it takes to create and use this strategy. The benefits include:

1) Students activate background knowledge to instill confidence and become "activated" learners rather than passive learners.

2) Student interest and curiosity is piqued, which helps them with the scientific practice of developing interesting questions to try to answer.

3) Students make connections between what they know already and what they've learned. These connections promote depth of understanding.

4) The reflection process is considered one of (if not the most) influential strategies that promotes student learning. Reflection includes self-assessment and students learn the art of meta-cognition (thinking about their thinking).

If we want to students to understand scientific concepts at depth and retain that understanding for application to other problems, it is necessary to use strategies like this one to create a learning environment that asks students to do more than just process information passively.

  Connection to Prior Knowledge: K-W-L Charts: What Students Know, Want to Know and Learn
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Dunking for Density Investigation (Part 1/2)

Unit 6: Properties of Matter
Lesson 7 of 14

Objective: SWBAT apply the concept of density to floating and sinking.

Big Idea: Sink or swim? Students manipulate densities of mini-submarines to make them sink, float and suspend.

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