In order to activate students' prior knowledge about streams, I begin this lesson with a partner-visualization activity. I ask students to sit with a science partner, close their eyes and share a time when they visited a stream site. I ask the students to consider how the water changes the land and how the soil looks around the stream site. I then ask each partner to take 1 minute to share their experience with their partner. This activity encourages students to make personal connections to their learning and to draw on their real-life experiences when conducting their lab.
To help students experience success working through the lab, I display the investigating streams lab worksheet on the document camera. I guide students to make a prediction (in the hypothesis section) about what will happen when we run a stream of water over the land. I then assign student jobs for the day's lab and review the lab procedures.
After releasing the students to independent work, I walk around and check in with each student group. I ask questions about what is happening in their stream tables and try to guide them to observe the changes in the land caused by the stream of water.
The key understanding that I want my students to take away from the day's lab is that streams of water erodes the land. To help my students arrive at this conclusion on their own, I close the lesson by providing students with group discussion time. This group discussion time is crucial because it encourages meaning making by each student participant. I provide each table group with a copy of the investigating streams discussion questions. I ask students to record their thinking in their science journals on each of the following questions:
1. How did water change the land in our stream table?
2. How were the changes created by the stream the same and different from the changes caused by rain?
3. What types of landforms could streams create? Name any examples you and your group can think of.
I use the student's lab record sheets as a formative assessment to determine whether each child has arrived at the conclusion that erosion can be caused by streams of water on land.