In this two day summative assessment, students use a rubric to write a three paragraph response to answer the essential question. Thus, students are able to communicate their own learning in their own unique way. Furthermore, students are assessed on the energy concepts of the unit as well as their ability to write scientifically.
The lesson connects to the following NGSS and Common Core Standards:
MS-PS3-1 Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
MS-PS3-2 Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.
MS-PS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.
MS-PS3-4 Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.
MS-PS3-5 Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
Science and Engineering Practices:
Students construct written arguments supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support their explanations of how energy is transferred in systems in the natural world (SP7). In constructing these explanations, students support their claims using multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific principles (SP6).
Cross Cutting Concepts:
As students write to show their understanding of all of their learning targets, this lesson also can provide students with practice in Cross Cutting Concepts of “Scale, Proportion, and Quantity”, “Systems and Models” , and “Energy and Matter”. In their writing, students include examples of the relationship between mass, velocity, and kinetic energy (CCC Scale, Proportion, and Quantity). Students also include in their writing examples of inputs and outputs of energy and track how energy flows within the system (CCC Systems and Models). In addition, students include examples of how energy may take different forms and that the transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows (CCC Energy and Matter).
Typically, I start class by asking, "What are you going to be learning today?". As this lesson represents the summative assessment, instead I ask, "In this unit, what should you have learned?" Students should respond with the essential question, "How does energy transfer through various systems in the natural world?" (I keep this posted on the board. Students also have it in their Unit Plan).
Explain that the next two days is their chance to demonstrate their mastery of both energy and scientific writing.
Provide students with the Energy Final Assessment Instructions and Rubric.
Explain to the students that their final test for the energy unit will be different from a traditional multiple choice test. Instead, they will be demonstrating their understanding in writing. They will be answering the essential question, “How does energy transfer through various systems in the natural world?”.
Students may initially be overwhelmed at this idea. Encourage them that the great thing about this format is that each individual student gets to show their understanding in their own way with their own examples. Let them know that they will have access to all of their resources and their light bulb they completed in a previous lesson in completing this task as well. (The light bulb is a critical piece to this assessment. Check out this lesson for how to aid students in creating this.) Moreover, all of the work students have done through the unit have prepared them for this. They are ready!
The light bulb will serve as their "pre-write". They will reference this as they write.
Say, “Your task is to write three paragraphs that support a claim about our essential question for the unit. Some of you may have heard of a five paragraph essay. Essentially, I am providing you with your thesis statement and you are to write what would be the “middle three” paragraphs citing evidence to support your thesis. You should utilize all resources in your binder including the “Light Bulb” activity where you organized your information for the unit. The paragraphs should be written in ABCDE format.”
The Essential Question, learning targets, and thesis statement are included below.
Essential Question: How is energy transferred through various systems in the natural world?
Skills to Master EQ
Thesis: Evidence demonstrating that energy transfers through various systems in the natural world can be shown in examples of ____________________, ___________________, and ______________________. (You must choose 3 of the skills to focus on here.)
Say, “Each of you will use the same thesis, but each person might choose different learning targets to prove their point. For example, if I was going to choose skills 1, 2, and 3 to write about, my thesis may be: Evidence demonstrating that energy transfers through various systems in the natural world can be shown in examples of heat transfer, kinetic energy changing with the mass and speed of an object, and different amounts of potential energy being stored in systems. Notice how I paraphrased each of the skills to fit in the thesis. You have already paraphrased each skill on your light bulb! This these will be at the top of my paper and will serve as a guide to organize my writing. If this was my thesis, I would write one paragraph about heat transfer, one paragraph about kinetic energy and mass/speed, and one paragraph about potential energy in systems. The thesis does not replace the topic sentences for each of these paragraphs. Your thesis will be at the top of your paper and each paragraph will have its own assertion/claim/topic sentence.”
Go through the rubric with the students. For me, a 4 is mastery, and a 5 is a sophisticated mastery (above expectations). In short, students must write like a scientist as they include 3 citations of text, data, or diagrams, 1 diagram, and 3 examples/evidence in each well-developed paragraph. Students may be overwhelmed by coming up with 3 examples for each skill. Remind them that they have already done this work on their light bulb! In preparation for this, my students have done a lot of writing. These resources will give you an insight into the lessons my students have had in terms of scientific writing:
Say, “Throughout this unit we have worked on ABCDE paragraphs. As your writing becomes more developed, you may not always follow this format exactly. For example, in this piece of writing, you need to include three citations and examples. Thus, the ABCDE format will need to be adapted. Your paragraph instead may be ABCDCDCDE or ABCCCDDD in order to fulfill the requirements. When becoming an independent scientific writer, it is not about writing in a scripted format. It is about doing the things that effective writers do. You know that effective scientific writers use strong vocabulary and varied transitions to help with flow. You know they include an assertion/claim/topic sentence to introduce a topic. You know they provide the reader with background about what they are going to write about. You know they cite multiple sources to strengthen their claim such as text, data, and diagrams. You know they explain the science behind their reasoning. You know they use a conclusion sentence to wrap up their paragraphs. As long as you do these things, your paragraph will be well formatted. You may use the ABCDE paragraph as a guide, but it is not the most important thing. As long as you write like a scientist, you will be great!”
Let students know that any skill that is not chosen to write about here will be assessed based on their light bulb and their previous works. Let them know they should double check their light bulb to ensure they have demonstrated mastery in the examples they used.
I provide students with 2 class periods to write. Students take a wide range of time to complete this. I allow students to come in before school, after school, or lunch to complete it. I also allow students to take it home to finish if they need more time.
The following videos take a look at student work for each of the six skills as well as a look at different types of learners. As you move forward with having your students complete this type of summative assessment, these videos will give you some insight into what student products might look like and things to look for in student writing. Remember that students each write three paragraphs targeting three skills. While each student will not write about all six skills, I wanted to provide you with insight on all of them as you will have students write about each.
Skill 1: I can construct and analyze graphs, charts, and figures that show the relationship between kinetic energy and the mass and speed of an object.
Skill 2: I can describe and model situations in which different amounts of potential energy are stored in a system. (ex. Elastic, gravitational, magnetic, chemical, etc)
Skill 3: I can solve problems based on my understanding of heat transfer (conduction, convection, radiation).
Skill 4: I can provide evidence that the amount of energy needed to transfer to change the temperature (average kinetic energy of the particles) of an object depends on the type of matter and the mass of the object.
Skill 5: I can support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, that energy has been transferred to or from the objects in the system (energy is conserved).
Skill 6: I can develop models that show different forms of energy transfer that occur in the world and how they can transform from one form of energy to another. (ex. Chemical to sound, radiant to thermal, etc).
Types of Learners: ELL and IEPs
Once students have completed their exam, have them score themselves based on the rubric. This is an important step as it makes the students look at the rubric. Even though a rubric is emphasized, middle school students can have a tendency to never look at it while they write. By having them circle their level of mastery on the rubric, it allows students to really look at how they have done on the criteria.