We have been learning about hurricanes. We've read articles, watched videos, and shared how devastating a hurricane can be. One of the most common occurrences during a hurricane is storm surge. In order to build anticipation for the lesson and to better understand this phenomena, we watched a video from the Weather Channel that clearly explained the concept for my third graders.
In order to help me manage this investigation, I created a PowerPoint,Protect My Home!. This strategy helped us stay on course and ensured that we were all working on the same segment of the investigation. My students are also becoming more comfortable using Accountable Talk during discussions, in both whole group and with partners.
I wanted my students to be methodical in their work, which is very difficult for third graders, for this reason,to help guide them through the process, I created a focus page, Flood Protection Design Challenge. This challenge page also helped my students become better notetakers as well as enabled them to better focus on specific areas of the investigation. They had to choose 2 materials to test for its ability to slow down or stop the water flow. I wanted them to discuss their possible ideas and then implement them, the Design challenge page helped them think it through. Here they are discussing how they are going to stop the flooding from the storm surge. Here another group has implemented their design and explain what they've done in What's your design idea?
My students loved this investigation, however, I wanted them to reflect on their work. In my opinion, the discussion about what worked and didn't is a valuable tool in helping students evaluate their own work. This is the reason why I created the design evaluation page, Protect my home from a flood Design Evaluation. This reflection page helped them digest what they learned and how they would possibly adjust their design in the future. Here is a student explaining and evaluating what happened in his group. I encourage my students to share in their group first, then write it down, then one person from the group can share with the class.
The best part about this lesson is that you can adapt it to the needs of your class, and what you want your students to focus on. I've taught this lesson all in one day, as well as teaching the beginning on one day, and then review and lab on the next day.