Using Science Tools

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Student scientists will learn to use science tools appropriately by viewing Sid the Science Kid using science tools in the correct manner.

Big Idea

Real life scientists use science tools to explore their ideas and conduct research.


15 minutes


As the students gather at the carpet, I will tell them "Today, we are going to explore science tools and try to figure out how scientists use them. I want you to view each tool and make an inference.  Remember to hold your thoughts about each tool in your mind, you will need to recall it later."  


I do not record their thoughts because I do not want erroneous information shared with the group. Each tool has a specific use and a correct way to use it.  I will also say"Be sure to include how you would use the science tools in a safe way.  Make safety apart of your inference."


I hold up each science tool while the students turn-and-talk to their shoulder partner about their inference.  I monitor the conversations in order to give enough time to each partner.  I remind the students to discuss how each tool is used in the real world of science and why.  




25 minutes


I allow the students to return to their tables once I call their table number.  They wait for instructions with their hands in their laps.  I say to the students, "You may explore the science tools in a gentle and quiet way.  Remember to be safe by picking up one science tool at a time and remain seated.  


With minimal instruction about what the science tools are used for, the students are now allowed to use partner exploration to explore the tools in a safe manner. There are several tools gather on the tables to be shared by two students. The partner exploration will include time to make illustrations of the science tools in their science notebooks.  Each student will share his or her renderings with the students at their table.


I briefly say to the students, "Recall the inferences you made.  Now that you can touch and use the science tools,  does your inference make sense?"  This experimental-inquiry process allows students to begin to construct their own understanding of how the tool functions instead of memorizing the function.



7 minutes


Once the exploration time has ended, I call the students back to the carpet by table number.  The expectation is that the movement from the table to carpet is swift and quiet.  After all the students are quietly waiting, I say "Pay close attention to how Sid the Science Kid uses sciences tools in his video because you will have to tell your partner if you made an accurate inference about how the science tools should be used."  


My students explored some of the same science tools that Sid explored in his video including magnifying glasses and science notebooks.


Now, I will model using the science tools once again as a means of solidifying my students understanding of the appropriate use for science tools.


I will explain the appropriate use for each of the listed science tools:

  1.  Computer - a computer is used to research and learn about science on various websites.
  2.  Ruler - a ruler is used to measure how long something
  3.  Stopwatch - a stopwatch is used to measure how much time something takes.
  4.  Calculator - a calculator can help you add and subtract.
  5.  Balance - a balance is used to measure the mass of objects. 
  6.  Clock - a clock measures time.
  7.  Magnet - a magnet is used to see if an object is made of specific metals.
  8.  Hand lens- a hand lens makes objects look larger.
  9.  Safety goggles - goggles are used to protect your eyes.
  10.  Measuring cup - a measuring cup is used to measure volume or how much space        something takes up.



13 minutes


I tell the students to "think about your inferences at the beginning of the lesson.  You explored different science tools and said how you thought they were to be used.  Now that you have watched Sid use the tools in the correct way, did you make the correct inference?"


I briefly review each science tool stopping to say "If you made the correct inference, put your tumbs' up.  If your inferences was almost correct hold your tumb side ways."  This allows all students to participate in some fashion.


Finally, I bring the lesson to a close by saying "Inferring can be easy if you have prior experience with an object or information.  Now that you have prior experience with science tools, I expect you to use them in the appropriate way each time.  I also expect you to be safe when using science tools."