I remember as a child always thinking that grownups were so lucky. They got to do whatever they wanted and never had to do anything more than once , but as we all know, when you do become a grownup, this is not the case! This got me thinking about the way my students are always reluctant to revise, whether it be during Writer's workshop, Reading Workshop or Math. That is why I feel that this followup lesson is so important. It shows my students that when we obtain new information, we sometimes have to revise our way of thinking, or as I like to call it, "rethinking our argument". The NGSS stresses the importance of defending an argument/claim and this lesson does just that.
I will sometimes start with a question. Today it was "Can a seashell walk? which is a play on the title of the video clip I used as part of my warmup. There are so many videos on youtube to pick from, however, I usually choose one that is within the 2min range, this allows my students to watch and discuss.
The video is intended as a springboard to get them talking/ discussing about what we have learned.This video is a little over a minute, just enough for them to watch and then share what they had learned about seashells in the previous lesson. Some are even using academic language to express what they learned! They are very quick to explain that a seashell was actually the home of an animal and about how they classified their seashells during our first exploration.
By letting my students explore and discover on their own they are more engaged. Of course, that doesn't mean that I don't offer them some guidance , especially during these initial science lessons where the ground work is being set for deeper levels of inquiry. I find that scaffolding is key to future success. For that reason, I really enjoy using take-along guides during science lessons. The one I use for this lesson is "Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars" by Christiane Kump Tibbitsï»¿.
I try to have at least one book per group. I get my extra copies from the library which is really cost effective. Let me start by saying, I did not read the whole book, I enticed them with highlights of different pages, for example we read the page on the lightning whelk and on the coquina clam. Most of them have seen these particular shells and some even classified them in a previous lesson. This built the excitement and, everyone wanted to borrow the book, which is exactly what I had hoped.
During the first lesson, students classified their shells by color or size but they were curious as to what the name of the shell was, where it came from, or what animal originally lived there. They knew from our discussions that scientist probably didn't classify them the way they did and they wanted to know more.
I like to weave academic vocabulary into our discussions that my students place in their notebooks using a modified Frayer Vocabulary Model.pdf.
I used a powerpoint I created, bivalve & univalve.pptx to help them understand the meaning of bivalve and univalve. I took this opportunity to explain that even if at times, you don't know a word if it has a prefix, you can figure out a partial meaning.
The students used the book first and for those shells that were not in the book, they used this wonderful website: http://www.seashells.org/alltheseashells.html
They were eager to learn more about their shells as well as reclassifying their seashells as bivalve or univalve using a Seashell Classification Chart Day 2.pdf to help organize the data. I find that an effective way to manage time during lessons is to print and reduce to 80% enough copies needed to add to the interactive notebooks. It is wonderful to hear them using the academic vocabulary while working collaboratively, looking for the hinge to help determine which type the shell was, referring to the text to find more information. Yes, they were acting like scientists, observing,discussing and classifying.
They compared their original classification list to their new one and shared their findings. It really got them thinking about the job of a scientist and the classification process.
I use sentence frames as a way to help scaffold the students when they are writing for any subject. This tool is especially useful at the beginning of the school year when they are just getting used to writing arguments.
For this activity, I created a Seashell Sentence Frames.pdf sheet to help students write their opinions and then share them during whole group discussion time. I believe this was the reason we had such a lively discussion session! The topic was whether scientists should re-visit their findings if new information comes to light. The students wrote their argument/claim and their supporting details . The conversation went as far as wondering if other scientists would think you weren't too smart if you had to do it again! It was interesting to see how well they discussed the positions they chose.
It was wonderful to see how they came to the realization, through their own discussions, that sometimes scientists have to re-examine their original data and revise their argument/claim