For today's lesson, you will need:
I start today's lesson by having the students gather in a circle on the carpet. The lesson starts with a quick review of observations made during the previous lesson. The students share their observations to the group and talk about how they might improve them.
A new plant is introduced for observation purposes and the students are asked to observe the original and new plants and then record observations in their notebooks.
*At this age, defining and modeling of the compare and contrast concept may need to be done prior to independent work.
NOTE: Although these standards are tagged, this lesson will not lead to mastery but rather serve as an introduction to the standard and begin to build a foundation that will lead to mastery.
The lesson will begin with the students gathering on the carpet.
"I would like you to open your science notebook to your last entry. Take a look at how you recorded your observations. How might you improve your recordings?"
I am looking for students to connect ideas that have been shared during the four previous lessons. This will give me an idea who is connecting to the ideas that were discussed and who may still need some help connecting to the ideas. These are students that I will specifically connect as they produce today's entry.
"I want to introduce you to a new plant today."
I use sunflowers from the school garden. These offer a complex flower and seed arrangement that will allow for students to offer a lot of detail in their recordings.
"I would like you to use this plant and the other plants that we have been using to observe and record today. I would like you to think about how you are going to record your observations today."
Again, I am looking for kids to think about connections to the previous lessons and discussions.
"Who can share some of the strategies that they will use today?"
This sharing allows others to hear the reviewed ideas and help promote ideas for students that are struggling to come up with some on their own.
"I am now going to give you 10 minutes to go and observe. I am going to partner you up and ask you to go and observe. You can talk with each other and share your strategies with each other."
As students are workings, I use this time to check in with those students who weren't demonstrating a connection to the ideas from the previous lessons. I also check in with each group to see how students are recording and to promote conversation and learning between the partners. For example, "Jim I like how you used the word stem and labeled the stem in your diagram. Ann, did you see what Jim did? Can you show Jim how you represented that the plant had a long stem?"
"I would now like everyone to gather back on the carpet. I would like you to bring a chair to sit on and make a circle for everyone to fit in but don't sit next to your partner that you worked with. I would like you to share what you found today. Let's start by having each of you share with a person next to you and then Turn and talk to the person on the other side of you. Now I would like you to all to share with the whole group. Who would like to share how they recorded their observations today?"
After the students have shared, if ideas of who to observe and record two different plants hasn't been discussed and shared, I will ask them to do so.
"How were people able to record information about two separate plants? I would like people to share how they how they did this did this."
After this share, I send the students back to continue observing for ten more minutes. I want to give them one last opportunity to try some of the ideas that have been shared through the class' discussion.
"I now want you to go back and observe your plants for 10 more minutes. I want you to think about the ideas that have been shared and see if you can try any new ones or use them to enhance what you have already done."
This activity gets at the NGSS goal of having students making observations firsthand (1-LS3-1). This is a skill that 1st and 2nd graders will need to develop throughout the year. It will take many repeated experiences and opportunities for them to truly master the skill of clearly recording observations with accuracy.
The NGSS Science Practice Standard 3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations is touched upon because students are making and recording observations that then can be used for comparison purposes.
To finish off this introduction to science notebooks, I gather the students back on the carpet (again with chairs) to had done final discussion. I also bring the anchor poster that was created (started in first lesson and added to throughout) to use in the discussion.
"I would like to allow you to share, with the group, any final changes or additional items that you added to your notebook entry."
I finish the lesson by reviewing the anchor chart and making sure that it represents the various ways in which observations were recorded, and that the students' entries meet the criteria that is outlined on the chart.
Students are participating in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics with peers in both small and large groups (SL.1.1).