Collecting Data for Change Over Time

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Students will be able to devise a way to consistently and safely measure growing seeds in order to track change over time.

Big Idea

Accurately measuring an item that is not a straight line is a new concept for students. Rather than tell them what to do, today we will explore ideas and create strategies together.


5 minutes

The question for today's lesson is "How do scientists decide what data to collect?"  

As the students and I consider this together, I will engage them in thinking about what changes we expect as our seeds are germinating.  What data could we gather each day?

I will listen for students to discuss that length will change, as well as how the plant looks.  I will then guide them to consider length today.  If students don't mention length, I will bring it into the conversation by showing several germinating seeds that began at the same time, but are different lengths. 

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

To begin my modeling, I turn the student's attention to the work they did yesterday, which was to scientifically draw their 4 types of seeds. 

Then we discuss what they think changes over time with these seeds.  I remind them of the idea of different lengths, sizes, and growth rate and explain that today we will begin recording changes in length. I also mention that we need to think of the changes the a seed undergoes regarding its physical appearance. 

Next, I model with students how to choose a seed and describe it with detail in the science journal. I also explain that they will need to determine a way to measure the length of the seed while keeping it safe and intact. As we discuss this, I "look a"t the tools on the science tray (rulers, string, measuring tape) and think aloud about how they might help me with these tasks. 

I then ask the students to consider, with their partners, how they will gather all of this information. As well, I stress that when we work with living things, we have the obligation to be respectful (careful) of how we handle them.

Active Engagement

25 minutes

As students work with their teams to describe and measure their germinating seeds, I will circulate and prompt them to consider why they are choosing to measure in the way they are.  This is an important question, as I expect students will just think they need to measure the visual length of the germinating seed.  I will be listening in to determine if they are considering the whole growth, even if it curves. 

Aside from the science content in this lesson, there are several mathematical concepts being used, but not necessarily taught during the lesson.  As the children work and show me there strategies, I will have to work to teach mini lessons along the way in regards to rounding to the closest unit, starting in the right place of the tool, and reporting out the measurements using units.  All of this must be done in a helpful, immediate need, way so the scientists can continue their data gathering without being bogged down in too many "structured lessons".  

Close and Sharing

10 minutes

To close, I simply remind the students that we will need to use the same strategies to measure our seed growth over time.  It will be important for us to use the same strategy in order to remain consistent in our data.