After the students find their seats, I instruct them to respond to the following prompt on the whiteboard in their notebook (~3 minutes).
What are some advantages (good things) of using a computer to create work versus using paper and pen? Provide at least two pieces of evidence.
As students finish, I walk around the room and ask them to elaborate on their claims. How does technology help people save information? How is this different from paper and pen? What happens to both technology and paper over time? Does this influence your opinion?
At the end of three minutes, I choose one or two students to share their responses and ask other students with opposing viewpoints to make counterclaims. Without turning the class into a debate, I go back and forth choosing pro-technology and pro-paper until I feel satisfied we've heard a fair amount of both sides.
Note: Providing a broad question for students to answer in the beginning of class allows them to think about the topic at hand on their own accord and make it theirs. This motivates them to dig deep and relate to the topic. The discussion also helps to refresh prior knowledge before the lesson begins.
This activity also gets the students to begin writing claims and supporting their claims with evidence (CCSS W.6.1). Students support these claims using their own personal experiences as evidence. As they move further through the scientific curriculum, they will base their claims on empirical evidence.
Each student needs access to an iPad, computer, or any device with Google Chrome. The students turn on their devices and follow a step-by-step procedure to logging into their google drive accounts. On the whiteboard, I post the procedure. Each student also has a paper copy of the procedure. This document can be referred to on any day when the login process becomes hazy (building independent learners).
I read each step, one-by-one, walk around to make sure each student has accomplished said step and check off the step on the board once all have completed it. This seems rather boring and mundane, but the process is completely new for most of my students. I start the lesson by telling them to be patient and respectful of others who may need more help with the technology.
Once all the steps have been completed, the students complete their Science Interest Surveys via Google Forms. The interest survey is used to extract basic information from the students (parent contact information, likes, dislikes, learning preferences, etc.).
Note: In order to access Google Drive, students must have a Google account. Our school purchased a Google Education license and has provided each student with an account. They do not have email access on their school accounts. If you don't have an educational license, you can go through the setup process for a gmail account for each of your students, however, you should get parent permission for each child.