Life Science Assessment: Crayfish

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Students will be able to compile information in order to present to others

Big Idea

This session will engage students in compiling information, observations, and investigation data about life cycles, structures and functions, and care of living animals, in order to present to our first graders. This is a performance assessment.


5 minutes

"How can scientists teach what they know? How do they decide what is important?"  This will anchor our work today and I will ask the students to tell their shoulder partner what they think at this moment about this question.

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

To begin the lesson, I will ask the students to share with each other what they have found interesting about crayfish.  I will then ask them to share what they think is important to know about crayfish.  I realize these ideas may be very different, so I want to hear if the students discuss them differently. 

Next, I will display a teaching notes graphic organizer. As I do, I will explain to the students that they will become teachers and share their expertise with one of our first grade classes.  This form will help them organize their presentation. 

This is an assessment, so I will not tell the students what to write for each section. I will also not tell them it is a "test", because I want to know where they stand with their knowledge and understanding at any moment of the unit.  

Active Engagement: Preparation

30 minutes

As students work to prepare their presentation, I will circulate and dig for more information.  I will do this by listening in and then asking probing questions about theories and knowledge.  In this video, the student was tell me about his plan for teaching the structures of a crayfish. During our conversation, I was able to assess his ability to create a theory of a structure's function and it's importance to survival.  

Active Engagement: Teaching

15 minutes

In phase two of the lesson, when our first grade pupils arrive, my students are excited to share all they know.  As they teach, I will roam and listen.  At times, I may prompt the third graders to explain more fully, but I will withhold instructing, or guiding the presentation, as this is an assessment and their time to shine. 

In this clip, the two "teachers" are explaining some of the structures of a crayfish and what their function is.  Listen in and see if you can hear the excitement, the knowledge, and the deep understanding of function, not to mention the precise vocabulary usage. 

Closing and Sharing

10 minutes

To wrap up our lesson/assessment, I asked the third graders share out in front of both classes what they think is the most important piece of information to remember before they left for their room.  

This choice made in order for me to "hear" more comments than I might have as I was circulating. I also then asked the first graders to share what they learned from their third grade teachers. This allowed me to measure, in a small way, how their student "teachers" did.