The Why Behind Teaching This:
The assessment will serve as a method for analyzing what standards the students have mastered and which standards they still need additional practice with. It will serve as a tool for reflection on how effective lessons were and on the teaching strategies used during lessons as well.
The choice board provides another opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery of the standards by completing projects. Not all students perform well on written exams so it is important to have a variety of ways for students to be able to demonstrate their understanding.
Both assessment tools will focus on the processes used by scientists. This includes tools used by scientists, models, classification, the scientific method, and the engineering design process. Although some of the these concepts are not specifically listed in standards, they are a crucial building block to the scientific thinking that needs to be understood to complete activities throughout the year. The specific standards that are assessed on the unit assessment and choice board projects are all of the 3-5-ETS1 Engineering Design standards. 3-5-ETS-1: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials time, or cost. 3-5-ETS-2: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. 3-5-ETS-3: Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improve.
Today's goal is for students to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts covered in Unit 1 by scoring 80% or higher on the written assessment. They can also demonstrate mastery of standards by completing projects from the Choice Board provided.
Students will demonstrate mastery by scoring 80% or higher on the written assessment, and by successfully completing projects in certain areas on the Choice Board provided.
Preparing for Lesson:
Copy End of Unit Choice Board for each student and pass out 2 weeks prior to the end of the unit.
I make one additional copy to put on the front board as a reminder.
Download the Unit 1 Review Game
Get prizes for the winning team
Copy the Unit 1 Assessment for each child
Copy of the Unit 1 Assessment Answer Key for scoring
Have a designated place available for ESE students to receive accommodations
Reviewing for the Assessment:
I play the Unit 1 Review Game the day before the assessment if there is time. If there is not, I will play just before giving the assessment. If you have a limited amount of time for science, it would probably be best to play the day before the assessment. The game will take about 30 minutes, and the assessment will take about 45 minutes to complete. There are three rounds to the game so you can always play two out of the three if you do not have enough time.
I play the Unit 1 Review Game by having each group get a white board and marker. After I reveal the question, groups discuss the answer and record their response on the white board. I ask all groups to show their answers at the same time. While I check I quickly discuss what is incorrect about any wrong answers and point out key information that may help them on the assessment.
The directions for the game are on the second slide. All groups answer the question. Any group that gets it correct, gets 100 points. The group whose turn it is, gets to spin for bonus points. I have groups roll a dice to see who goes first, then we rotate around from that starting point. If the group whose turn it is, gets it wrong, then they spin and the points go to all other groups that did get it correct. I put on the slide that if that group's spin happens to end up on the bankrupt, then all students who had the correct answer get a homework pass and 5 tickets for our class drawing. Teachers can edit the page to change this to whatever reward they want to make it.
Students are provided the End of Unit Choice Board two weeks before the written assessment. I explain the guidelines and we go over the choices they have. There is a spot at the top for a due date so I make sure all students record the date given as the due date. I allow students to submit projects whenever they have them complete, they do not have to wait until the due date to submit these.
By completing the projects for the choice board, students are demonstrating an understanding of the concepts that have been covered in Unit 1. By allowing them the 2 weeks leading up to the assessment to do it, they are reviewing these concepts and gaining a better understanding before taking the written assessment. Not all students perform well on written assessments so I feel that it is important to provide hands on opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding as well.
Samples Completed Projects Submitted By Students:
Engineering Design Project Redone: Marshmallow Catapults
We discussed after testing the original projects that those that had the spoon almost upright would shoot the marshmallow almost straight, and thus travel a farther distance. As you can see there were only 2 that reconstructed their catapult so that their spoon was upright. We tested all of them and none of the new designs traveled farther than our winning catapult, but several did travel father then their original distances.
Engineering Design Projects: Recycled structure at least 1 meter tall to hold water for 2 minutes
The choice board specifically states that for this project, students will follow the steps of the engineering design process to build a structure one meter tall out of recycled materials to hold water for 3 minutes. I had several structures turned in that were less than 1 meter tall, even after I offered to send measuring tapes home with anyone that needed them. I also only received the planning step from 2 students out of about 15 that completed this project. I told students that the two that turned in their plans are the only ones who demonstrated proficiency on this activity because they demonstrated an understanding of the steps where as the others only demonstrated their ability to build the structure.
There was one student who took this project one step further by adding a valve to release the water from the top where it was being held. This student could have earned an exemplary mark for going above and beyond, but he did not submit the planning portion of the project.
Create a Model of Something:
This choice was very general as it left the model open to anything the students wanted to create. I had several rockets turned in as well as a couple of cars. I had a model of the planets submitted as well as a balance. The student who created the model of the balance turned in a complete report on the background and other information about her model. This student earned exemplary due to her extra work that went above and beyond what was expected.
I only had three PowerPoint projects submitted which surprised me. I do have several students that do not have computers at home which prevents some of them from doing it but I figured this would be a popular choice. I will promote the completion of more technology projects with this next unit because students need to practice using the computer and completing projects like this before going to middle school. Our testing this year will also be taking place on the computer so using the computer as much as possible will benefit them.
Student Created Video for Using Tools:
I only had one student choose to create her own video. I was very happy to see someone take advantage of this. She did an excellent job, although she did make a mistake on her thermometer measurement. I pointed this out to her in class and she said she was nervous which is expected. I thought she did a great job explaining each tool and demonstrating how to use them. She did have to borrow the tools but returned them the following day. If a lot of students wanted to do this project it may have been more of any issue lending out materials, but since she was the only one it was not an issue.
The Unit 1 Assessment contains multiple choice, extended response, and one response question that consists of several parts. The assessment has a variety of low level, moderate level, and high level questions which prepares them for standardized testing later in the year. I created the assessment based on the lessons that were taught in unit 1. If you did not use the lessons I prepared in unit 1, there are a few questions that your students may have a difficult time answering. For example, question 3, question 4, and question 7 are about tools which is not a standard that specifically covered, so unless you added it into your lessons, they may not know what tool and unit measures mass. I covered this in the first two lessons, Learning about Science Tools and Practice Using Science Tools. Question 9 may also cause some issues for students that were not taught the lesson I created on How Scientists Use Models. We outlined these 5 specific uses of models during this lesson. The remaining questions are all over the different process scientists use such as the scientific method and engineering design process and include analyzing data when these projects are completed. As long as this was a focus, the others questions should fit with any unit covering scientific thinking. It is always a good practice to preview assessments to make sure they align with what has been taught in your classroom.
I read the assessment to all ESE students, as this is an accommodation provided on their IEPs. I use the Unit 1 Assessment Answer Key to score assessments and then complete the Data Analysis Unit 1 Assessment sheet which will be used to identify trends with concepts that students performed well on, and those they did not do so well on. I will review concepts that were areas of weakness on morning work, and through future lessons taught.