Light Fountain

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SWBAT explain how light moves through moving water.

Big Idea

Great a fountain with your class, and enjoy the creation of a beautiful water fountain.

Lesson Overview

Next Generation Science Standard Connection

In this lesson I allow the class to carry out an investigation that I plan for them. They are going to learn that light travels through water even as the water is moving. In previous investigations we have passed white light through water that is still in a glass. So, today the class learns about how light will pass through moving water. I found this experiment as I was searching for ideas to help my class learn that light travels through water from this website.

This is the last lesson in my light unit before we begin our culminating activity. We studied how light can reflect, bend, and how the color of the material determines if the light will pass through. We have investigated with concrete blocks, wood, wax paper, white paper, colored paper, gummy bears, gummy worms, and water.

Lesson Overview

The lesson begins in the lounge area where I excite the class, and we move to their desks for the explore, and explain section. If you are short on time the explain section is a nice place to stop, and start again with the elaborate section. The elaborate section takes place in the center of the room where the class is seated in groups of four. The last section of the lesson takes place in the lounge, because it is a nice place to close the lesson. These transitions are really helpful in keeping the class on task, because they get to move around often. So, they are basically getting frequent brain breaks as they move.

The other thing I like to do is partner my students with a heterogeneous partner. They work with partner to read, write, and talk about their investigation. This makes sure everyone can participate, because they help each other. It also provides for a nice classroom atmosphere. The students are seated in assigned seats beside each other throughout the lesson.



10 minutes

As the lesson begins we meet in the lounge and I try to accomplish three things. I need to excite the class, assess their prior knowledge, and let the students know the plan for the lesson. 

I begin exciting my students by projecting the lesson image on the Smart Board. I just say, "Please take a look at the Smart Board, and think about a time when you saw a water fountain." This simply activates my students thinking, and just gets them reflecting upon their own experiences with fountains. 

Now they students are thinking about when they have seen or used a fountain, I need to assess the class to determine if they already know what I am going to teach them today. So, I say, "Talk to your partner about the times when you have seen or used a water fountain." I expect somebody to say, "We have a water fountain in our room." Then I ask a follow up question by saying, "Tell your partner what will happen to the light passing through the moving water?" I listen and allow the students to share: partner talk what they know. If somebody does know a great deal about the lesson I allow them to share, because this creates a more meaningful learning experience. Students really appreciate learning from their peers.

Last, I share the plan, because it focuses the class on what we are going to learn about. It also helps them follow directions and persevere through a lengthy lesson. I say, "Today we are going to learn about how light travels through moving water."


15 minutes

Now, I have the class transition, and move to the desks in the center of the room. This lesson has two components. The students fill out their science journal, and carry out the investigation that I have planned.

I first project the model of the science journal on their board, and I explain that we are going to do this investigation described in the plan. Then I say, "Copy down this information, and begin following the directions. You need to work with your partner to do you investigation. Go ahead and get your materials off the table, and record what happens when the light moves through the moving water." I turn off the lights in the room, so when the students finish copying down the plan they can begin investigating.

Students need support as they begin following instructions and I have a video that show how I help my ELL follow the instructions. I have two videos of the students engaging in their initial exploration: exploring take 1. Then they decided to add to the design and I also have a video: exploring take 2 of the investigation.


10 minutes

At this point I want to get the students expressing their observations verbally with the other group at their table, and I want the class to really engage in scientific discourse. This teaches my students to talk about scientific ideas. Then, I engage the class in a whole group conversation, because I am trying  to teach my students to share what they learn. As they share what they learn I also hope they begin to build upon the ideas of their peers. 

I begin by saying, "Tell the other group what happened when light passes through moving water." Next, I listen, and make sure everyone is talking about their fountain. I hope my students say, "The light is in the moving water, and I saw it in the bucket as the water moved down." It usually takes the students about one minute to finish their conversation. Then,  I say, "If you and the group opposite the table as you find something different you may redo the experiment or just talk about why you saw different things." When I see a group not communicating I stop and ask, "What did you record for your observations?" This prompt just gets the students started talking.

Last, we engage in a whole class discussion where the students share: sharing whole group their experience and add to what their peers say. I say, "Will a volunteer share what they saw?" Then I listen, and ask, "Will somebody add to that?" Again I listen hoping to hear comments like, "The light is moving down as the water moves down." I find this is a great way to help students learn to collaborate and share their knowledge. Plus talking about their observations helps students remember what they learned.


15 minutes

Now, I know my students are wanting more of an explanation. So, I say, "What are you wondering?" This helps students generate their own questions. They are going to say, "Why does that happen?" I then say, "Please record your question."

So, I give each child a copy of the text, and read the class this text three times. Then I say, "Now do you know why light passes through the running water?" Record your answer under your question. I say, "You can share your answer in the lounge. You reread and underline the answer, because this can help you spell."


10 minutes

We now move to the lounge, and I let the class share their answer to their question: presentation. First, I need to get the class ready to listen, so I use a fun chant to get them settled by calling out what I want them to do. We all chant, "Criss cross, apple sauce pockets on the floor, hands in your laps, talking no more." Then I add, "Your eyes are on the speaker and you are listening to what they say, so you can give them peers feedback." Here is an example of peer evaluation or peer feedback.

Then I use my spreadsheet of all my students names to check off who's turn it is to share their answer to the question. Then I call on them and ask them to share in front of the class. After the student shares I ask, "Will a volunteer add to or give them feedback?" Then I listen. If nobody can give feedback then I model verbal feedback.

Finally, the students assess their own work using a rubric I created. Then they trade with their partner and evaluate their partner's work. Sometimes I check their work: proficient work and below basic work after school to save time. This rubric is helpful in math as well, because it brings a real life scenario to the table of using fractions. The class really get parts and wholes as well, because they know they record how many they got right above how many there were possible.