The students have just completed their student-designed inquiry labs in the previous lesson. Now that they have experienced their ideas coming to life in their very own lab experiment, we need to make sense of all the data that the student lab groups have collected.
Upon entering the classroom, each student is given Analyzing Data Practice Worksheet and a plastic sheet protector. My first class of the day is trained to place any class handouts into the plastic sheet protector. Students come to understand the routine and know that if a worksheet is in the plastic sheet protector, than it is a class copy and should remain in the classroom at the conclusion of the class period. This helps to save on copy/paper costs throughout the school year.
In today's warm-up activity, the students use the provided worksheet to graph the provided data, analyze the data, and formulate a conclusion statement. The students record their responses on their Chapter 1 Bell Question Sheet. We have a class discussion to review the activity by having a two volunteers read their conclusion to the class and then have a whole group discussion to assess if the volunteers' conclusions are reasonable and relevant to the data that was provided. This serves as the model for what the students are doing with their own scientific data in today's lesson.
The class conversation wraps up with the general concept that there are multiple ways to analyze data and our conclusions may be different, but if the conclusion is data-based and can be defended by replicating the experiment then the conclusion is acceptable!
Keep in mind that the students have not formally reviewed graphing and will be relying on their prior experiences in their science and math classes to guide the students throughout this lesson. An effort will be placed on clarifying the necessary basics to the students, but the main focus of this lesson will remain their excitement for their independent inquiry projects and not the minutia of graphing.
Each of the student lab groups collected data from their inquiry labs in the previous lesson. Now it is time to make sense of the qualitative and quantitative data from the students' labs. As the instructor, the difficult task is guiding each of the separate lab groups since each group developed a unique lab procedure to investigate their original question about worm behavior. I am fortunate to have a few Peer Mentors in each class that act as teaching assistants who can provide basic support for my Biology students. The Peer Mentors are 11th and 12th grade students who have been very successful on our campus and have been selected to provide positive academic and social support to the younger students. It is really helpful to have the extra eyes and ears around the classroom as ten group data analysis projects are occurring.
To get started with the data analysis, the students need to identify the independent and dependent variables and determine how they changed by analyzing the data. Students are encouraged to reference the Student Inquiry Lab Worksheet that was used to record the data from the experiment and to use the worksheet to create a Google Drive Document to allow each group member access to preview the group data last night. With this prior knowledge, the students can use their class time in effectively. The overall message to the students is that as they analyze the data they need to determine what caused the "change" in the lab and what the "change" means to their experiment. Students also need to determine if their original hypothesis was correct or incorrect and provide supporting detail for their decision.
Students are reminded that after the data analysis is complete, they need to create a Google Drive Presentation with colorful graphs and images from their experiment to share the with the class in tomorrow's lesson. The class set of laptops is available to encourage group members to begin work on developing their Google Drive Presentation. Our district has created a Google Drive account for every student so it makes it much easier for students to communicate and share their work using the Google platform.
Now is the time to make the magic happen!
The student groups meet at their lab stations to analyze the data, create colorful graphs (either on graph paper or computers generated), and formulate a conclusion statement for their experiments. This is a great time for students to review the steps of the scientific method using their scientific method lecture notes from a previous lesson.
Once the lab groups complete their data analysis, they are ready to begin creating their Google Drive Presentations. The class set of laptops are available for the student groups to expedite student collaboration. In an effort to make the expectations for this project clear, each student receives an Inquiry Experiment Presentation Rubric. Keep in mind that this project is students' first presentation of the semester, so I offer extra help at lunch to assist students who need additional support and help calm the students' nerves.
The lab groups create their presentations using Google Drive so that all group members have access to the presentation to complete their responsibilities as homework. The students also share their presentations with me so that I can easily access the group presentations on our Presentation Day. Our district, Conejo Valley Unified, has created a Google Drive account for each student and teacher, so collaboration of curriculum and student assignments has been made much easier!
I am encouraged by the creativity and reasoning skills that I have observed while rotating around the classroom to each of the lab groups. My predictions are that tomorrow's presentations will surpass my expectations when this student inquiry project was created!
Please view the resources on the side to view samples of student work as they progress through the scientific inquiry process. The image of the student working is demonstrating the analysis of her data table as she completes the guided questions in the Student Developed Inquiry Lab Investigation.
A verbal call is given to all groups to stop their work with five minutes remaining in the class period and turn their attention to the front of the classroom, to spend time clarifying the expectations for this project. Student may also ask questions regarding the technical aspect, the scientific aspect, or the assessment of the project. We review the main points of the Inquiry Experiment Presentation Rubric as a class to ensure clarity. It may seem obvious that the students will read the rubric to understand how they will be assessed, but experience shows that this is not always the case so a quick review of the highlights is encouraged!
In an effort to provide the students with additional collaboration time, my classroom is open at lunch for lab groups to complete any remaining tasks.
Students are also reminded to share their projects using Google Drive so each group member, as well as with the teacher, has access to the presentation to prevent any difficulties accessing the students' work on presentation day. Student groups are reminded to assign any unfinished tasks to each group member to ensure that the project is ready in its final form by tomorrow. Students need to complete their assigned task from their group as homework. Student groups create a short task assignment sheet to record which group members are responsible for which portion of presentation.
I am on pins and needles waiting in anticipation to watch the students' Inquiry Experiment Presentations in our next lesson!