The Why Behind Teaching This:
Unit 2 addresses standards related to matter and it's interactions. The unit begins with identifying types of matter and the particles that make it up. This is covered in standard 5-PS1-1: Developing a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen. We will be changing matter by melting, evaporating, and dissolving to prove that although the physical appearance has changed, the same amount of matter still exists. This is covered in standard 5-PS1-2: Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved. We will also be using a variety of properties to identify matter through standard 5-PS1-3: Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties. The investigations and experiments during this unit will focus on physical and chemical changes that occur when mixing matter which addressed in standard 5-PS1-4: Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in a new substance.
I created the assessment so that each standard was covered on several questions, ranging from 3 questions to 5 questions. Question number 15 was created as an exemplary question, or higher level question, to challenge the top performers. This question does not count against students if missed, it is merely used to move them from the proficient performance marking to an exemplary performance marking.
The goal of the written assessment is for students to demonstrate proficiency on all standards related to matter:5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-2, 5-PS1-3, and 5-PS1-4. The goal of the choice board project is for students to apply what they have learned in class about matter to create a review that can be shared with the class.
Score 70% or higher on the written assessment and/or be able to meet all requirements for the choice board project to earn a proficient marking (PR) .
Making Gaming a Useful and Effective Strategy in Your Classroom:
I do a review game with my students prior to every assessment. Gaming is a great strategy to use when wrapping up a unit because it is a fun way to tie everything together and review concepts that were covered throughout the unit. Students enjoy this strategy so much more than completing a study guide and reviewing it together in class. Gaming also allows students to work together to come up with answers, which helps the ESE and ELL students feel confident in participating.
If you choose to use gaming as a strategy in your classroom, there is one thing that you will have to reinforce - ALL students must be active participants. In order for gaming to be useful, all students must be focused, participating in the discussions taking place, and listening to the speakers as they share, including the teacher. In order to ensure this takes place each time I play a game, I created a document that I have used before each game since the beginning of the year. Here is how I have taught and reinforce my expectations:
1. Print the Gaming Expectations document and keep it on the front board where it is easy to access.
2. Teach these steps before the first game you play and apply each rule throughout the game to reinforce them.
3. When students are not meeting an expectation, stop the game and model what the correct behavior for the expectation is. There should be a consequence for not meeting these expectations such as losing points.
4. Take the poster down from the board prior to each game and put it on the overhead to review.
5. Be firm and consistent! Do not let anyone get away with not following these expectations or they will all start to slack.
How I use Gaming:
I print a copy of the Unit 2 Review Questions and use them on the overhead. I place one question on the overhead at a time and allow students to discuss the answer with their group and record their response on one whiteboard. I circulate while groups are answering so that I can check that all students are participating. If I notice a student not participating, I will call on that student to explain the group's answer. If they are unable to explain the answer, their group does not get points. I explained my expectations for games to the class before our first game of the year and I review them prior to beginning each game. Students do not want to lose their groups points so they usually all participate. The Unit 2 Review Questions - answer key can be used as a guide to help know what to check student boards for.
I do reward the first and second place winning teams. I give out raffle tickets throughout the day for a drawing done every Friday as my behavior management tool. The winning group gets 5 raffle tickets each, and a piece of candy. The second place team gets 5 raffle tickets but no candy.
Types of Games:
There are so many variations to games that you can play with your students. I create PowerPoint games sometimes. There are free game templates you can access online and insert your own questions.
Another game I use is to tape note cards labeled A - Z on the whiteboard, each letter has a different amount of points on the back ranging from 100 points to 1,000 points. Groups that get a question correct, send a member up to choose a letter that earns them points. I like to include a couple of cards that say 200 points go to all other teams just to make it a little more interesting.
I have highlighted two of my student favorites in this Gaming Video. They love to play basketball which I purchased several years ago and ping pong toss which is very cheap and easy to reproduce and can be used over and over. Every team that answers a question correctly gets 100 points and with both of these games they earn a change to earn extra point by making a basket or tossing a ping pong ball into a bowl labeled with points. Getting the extra points is challenging so I think it is important to reward them with the 100 points just for getting the answer right.
Information Regarding the Make Up of the Written Assessment:
I created the Unit 2 Assessment to align with the standards covered. Some of the questions do reflect lessons taught in my classroom, however the focus is still over the standard that was taught. For example, question number 8 is asking how the mass of butter would compare as a solid to that of the butter in liquid form after it is melted. This was a lesson taught, Matter - is Weight the Same or Different, in unit 2 but whether this lesson was directly taught or not, students with a good understanding that mass does not change as matter changes state, should be able to answer this correctly. As long as all of the 5-PS1 standards were taught in your class, this assessment should work for any class. It can also be used as a homework assignment or as a review. After scoring the assessment with the Unit 2 Assessment Answer Key I completed the Data Analysis Unit 2 Assessment form so I could note any strengths and weaknesses. I adjust my teaching strategies and future review based on this data.
Information Regarding the Choice Board Project:
I have students complete a choice board project with each unit as another way to assess understanding. Some students do not perform well on written assessments but do excellent with creating visuals. The choice board project gives these students another way to demonstrate their understanding of concepts. The Unit 2 Choice Board Project that I created only has three options on it. I wanted the focus of this project to be on using technology since only 3 students used technology on the unit 1 choice board projects. Using technology is very important as it helps prepare them for middle school, and for the real world. I do know that some students in my class do not have access to computers at home, so the last option on the choice board is to create a poster.
Creating a PowerPoint project was one option that students had. The states of matter PowerPoint 1 and the States of matter PowerPoint 2 are two projects that were created using the PowerPoint program found on most computers. Both projects demonstrated an understanding of particle arrangement and properties, but did not include how scientists use properties to classify matter in the real world.
Another option on the choice board was to use Prezi.com to create a presentation. If you have not used Prezi before it is definitely worth looking into. It is a free program, students just need an e-mail and password to sign up. It is interactive and very easy to use. Students are able to upload pictures, videos, and background music very easily. The majority of my students chose to use this program for their project. You can see how it works and check out a couple of my students completed projects on this Introduction to Prezi and Student Project Examples video.
The final option was to create a poster. I did have about 10 students out of 40 choose to do this. Although this was not the ideal option, I know some students have no choice.