Our Scientific Community

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SWBAT identify similarities between aspects of their scientific inquiry with 'real world scientists'.

Big Idea

Students watch videos to learn what current scientists are doing and start a discussion about their own scientific questions .

Creating an Anchor Chart

15 minutes

In this lesson, I showcase 'real live' scientists presenting their work on video. I want my students to see themselves as part of a larger scientific community. Through directed viewing, students will identify aspects of scientific inquiry that they articulated in the 2 previous lessons, Thinking and Acting Like a Scientists and Blue Box Presentations. 

I also use the video viewing as a spring board for students to share their own scientific problems or questions they may choose to investigate. As stated in the NGSS, I want my students to see themselves as "competent and confident learners and doers in the realms of science and engineering."

Connecting to the Previous Lessons and Creating an Anchor Chart:

During the first lesson, I made a T-chart that includes the examples of students' acting as scientists and the associated science practice terms that students worked with during the 2nd lesson.

As the students and I review the terms for scientific practices on the T-chart, I connect the concepts to their learning in the last 2 lessons. For the 'scientific practices anchor chart',  I encourage students to provide picture ideas to be associated with the scientific practice term on the anchor chart. I draw these on green post-its and add these to the anchor chart.

The kiddos really liked giving suggestions for the pictures and I liked the buy in they had with the anchor chart 

"Let's review what we have on our charts, but I don't want to just read them, lets act them out!" With the help of the kids and as expeditiously as possible actions are choreographed to go along with the concepts noted on the chart.

We did not have the time to act out the terms, but I think it would be worthwhile and fun for the kids, and another way to reinforce science vocabulary. I plan on trying this out, when we have a little bit of time during transition to another activity. Also this supports my kinesthetic learners.

The Hook

While the students are sitting on the rug I introduce the next part of the lesson.

"My friend is always sharing some amazing videos about what scientists are doing in the real world. I was watching some the other day, and I was thinking, hey, I think my 2nd grade scientists would like to see what other scientists are doing. These scientists are doing some of the same practices that we did in our last couple of lessons. Do you think you will be able to tell when they act and think like a scientist? When you think and act like a scientist, you are part of a larger scientific community."

"Today you will watch a couple of videos that show scientists explaining what they have done. I want you to pay attention to what these scientists do and say. You will see them do and say some of the same things that you did as scientists in our last week's science class.


We Are Part of a Larger Scientific Community

25 minutes

I chose 3 videos with high school scientists, to encourage the idea, that scientists are not old men in white coats and to inspire them that they too can make an impact on the lives of others through scientific investigations. For each video I pause at key points to discuss the traits of scientific practices that are being illustrated.

I made sure the video links were set up in different tabs so that I could click from one to the other. If for any reason the link below will not work, you can type in the titles below and you will find the videos.

The kiddos really enjoyed the videos and wanted to watch each one from beginning to end, so I did not use the following time frames, but could be handy. Each class is different.

Before I show the first video, I pass out an Interactive Worksheet,  What Scientific Practices Did We See? Students will check off  aspects of scientific inquiry they notice in each video. I display the worksheet on the document camera and explain how they will fill it in. I use this worksheet to keep students accountable and to help them participate in our discussions afterwards, since they can refer to the key concepts on their paper.

For the first 2 sections, we discussed as a class what clues we saw that would support us checking off one of the scientific practices. For the last sections, students had to write the clues too. I could atcually use this last section to get a better gauge as to what the students picked up from the video and our discussions. Next time I will include a 'clues section' for at least one more of the videos.

The first video I show is The Secret of Trees, this is about a scientist who observes that tree leaves are meant to capture sunlight and uses this idea to develop an efficient way of arranging solar cells. I only show about 1 - 2 minutes of the video, stopping to point out the actions of the scientist or to call on students to tell me what they notice, always tying their video observations back to what they did in the last 2 classes.

For example in the video, The Secret of Trees, the scientist says "I was on a hike and I noticed that ..."

I stop the video here and ask, "Did you see what he was doing? Raise your hand if you can tell me what he did."(he made an observation) "This is what you do too when you looked at the blue boxes. Let's place a check mark on the line next to the word 'observation'."

Later in the video he says, "How could I put solar panels on trees?"

I stop the video here to ask what he did. (he asked a question) "Do you remember when we asked questions about our Blue Boxes? Scientists ask question. Let's place a check mark on the line next to the word, 'question'."

The scientist shows us a model and explains how it works. I stop the video here to point out that scientists share their work and then I connect this to the Blue Box presentations that the students did last week.

The students were impressed that the scientist got to the White House and meet President Obama.

The second video is about the scientist who invented the hollow tube flashlight. There are a number of videos on her, but I chose the one that gave background as to why she wanted to work on this problem. Again I am stopping at key points where the scientific process can be noted.

I ask students to pair share what they checked and explain what they saw in the video that supported their 'science practice' selection. I want students to practice supporting their answers with evidence, to keep their thinking close to the information source.

I show the first 16 - seconds of the video, hollow tube flashlight and ask the students if they can tell me what her question or problem was that she wanted to investigate?

I fast forward over her introduction, about 1:12 minutes into the video I start the video again where she explains why she wanted to solve this problem. Some of the other questions I will ask for this video are:

- What observations helped her come up with a solution to her problem? What scientific practices do we see her doing?

- Did she come up with a solution right away?

The kids seemed to really connect with this video. I think they connected with the idea that she was helping a friend.

The 3rd video shows a 19 year old scientist's solution for cleaning up the plastic in the ocean. I use the first 1:41 minutes of this video to illicit a discussion on scientific practices and ask students to connect it to the actions they did with the Blue Box.

After the last video, I ask students, " Did these scientists do all the work by themselves?" I want to bring it to the students' awareness that scientists do not usually work in isolation.

"Each scientist had their own question or problem they were investigating, but they all acted like scientists, just like us, they made observations, asked questions, planned a test or experiment, collaborated with other scientists and shared their results. These are the practices for ALL scientists.

Here is another great resource I recently found out about on scientists and questions, (after I wrote up the lesson.) The videos on this site are a longer but less technical and entertaining, which could side track the viewers...This lesson could be modified to show one of these videos rather than the 3 videos I originally have for this lesson. Consider your learners! :)

This is a PBSkids.org link which I will use with my class when we go to the computer lab, to identify some of the different scientific jobs and to look at what other students are investigating.



What Are Our Questions?

15 minutes

After the last video clip, I say, "I want you to share what you checked off for the last video and what evidence you saw to help you make your decision. After you and your partner have shared then take a moment to discuss which video stood out for you."

As I say the directions, I write the directions as bullet points on the board for my visual learners. I ask students to find someone who is wearing the same color, say hi and start their video discussion. I want the kids moving and sharing after watching the videos. This is one way to get them up and doing just that.

After a couple of minutes, I give the freeze signal.

"Please place your worksheet in your science folder and then meet me on the rug." By directing students to place this worksheet in the folder, they now have a reference for the science practices that we will be using through out the year. Students can refer to this worksheet when developing their own inquiries. Some students asked it they could watch the last video again, because they did not get all their clues noted. Students watch the video on a classroom computer and complete the worksheet.This gives the students a chance to collaborate with another and to articulate what they saw.

I summarize the key scientific practices we saw: observations, question, hypothesis, plan, share and remind them, "These are the same things you did when we did our Blue Box lab. When you think and act like a scientist, you are part of a larger scientific community. You are acting just like the scientists we saw today."

"These scientists had a question or problem that could not be answered through research alone, they each had to do something, test something to find an answer to their question. Maybe you have a question you would like to investigate. Let's take some thinking time.

The norm for 'thinking time' is an expectation in my class. Students are quiet and still, to allow everyone a moment to focus on the task and to prepare how they will respond.

I will call on each student to share a question, if they do not have one at the time I cal on them. They can say pass and I will check back in with them later to see if they are ready to share.

While students share their questions, I am writing them on post-its, with their name on the back. Later I write their questions on sentence strips. Tomorrow students sort the questions. This helps develop their schemas for different types of questions, i.e. what makes a research question, what makes an investigation question. This will be their first foray into sorting concepts

I will use their responses/questions to see what they are interested in so that their interests will be incorporated into their science experiences this year.

I close the class with, "Scientists ask questions, you ask questions and make observations just like the scientists we watched in the videos. Today when you go home, pay close attention, because you may see other people around you acting like a scientist and then you can say: I caught you acting like a scientist!"