In this lesson students have a chance to review for their final exam while also performing a fun and engaging lab activity where they make borax ornaments.
For this lab activity there are several materials needed including:
To engage students in the lesson I review with them the fact that we have our final exam next week and that this lab is a great way for them to check their understanding of what we have learned during first semester. With this being said I remind them that the goal is to remember the material so to try to make sure they understand the answers and not just copy from their classmates.
I also show students an example of the borax ornament from the previous year to give them a visual of what they will be making to get them excited for the lab.
In this part of the lesson I go over with students what they will be doing in the lab activity. I also have them break into cooperative groups.
- Primary Investigator as the person to keep students on track
- Post Doc as the person to read instructions
- Graduate student as the person who does the procedures
- Undergraduate student as the person who cleans up
This is the part of the lesson where students actually do the lab. They are working in their groups at their tables and filling in answers on the Lab Paper as they go.
I walk around and check their work to make sure they are doing the work correctly while also answering questions from students. I try to not give students answers, but rather give them hints of where they should look to find answers on their own. This video shows how I help one group do this.
Some examples of the questions I ask include:
Some common confusions among groups include:
I find that some groups move slower than others so in order to keep all students at a pace where they will finish the lab by the end of class I stop students when there is about 30 minute left in class. I tell them that whether or not they are done with the questions on the previous pages that they should be onto the last page and beginning to make their ornaments. This video shows how I do this in my classroom.
When students are done with their lab I have them bring their ornaments in the Styrofoam cups to the back of the classroom and I put them in bins according to class period. This Ornament Storage Picture shows how I do this.
Finally, at the end of the class I give a quick summary of what we did in the lab for day 1 and let students know what they will be doing the following day for day 2 of the lab. This video captures how I do this in my classroom.
Students do not turn in the lab until they complete day 2 in the next lesson: Semester Review Lab Day 2 and Final Review Bingo
When I do grade the lab I do not grade it for correct answers, rather I grade it for completion.
Students earn a "check" (100% credit) if they have most of the lab complete (only missing up to 3 answers)
Students earn a "check minus" (75% credit) if they are missing some of the lab (like a page worth of information is missing)
Students earn a "check minus minus" (50% credit) if they are missing quite a bit of the lab (like almost two pages worth missing)