Next Generation Science Standard Connection
This lesson connects to 1-PS4, because students discover the connection between vibrations and sound. They specifically discover vibrations make sound. The students make the kazoo vibrate and the vibrations make the sound. Giving students hands on activities really engages them in scientific investigation, and helps students connect with complex information. When I can allow my students to discover concepts I try to provide the opportunity. This is very entertaining and engaging lesson, because the students are already familiar with kazoos. Plus making noise is just fun.
When the lesson begins I engage the class in the lounge, then we move to the desks where the students explore the kazoo. Then the students record their observations in their science journal. They are going to hear a sound, and record what they feel when touching the kazoo right after they blow in it . Hopefully they draw a conclusion that vibrating material makes the sound. In the elaborate section the students participate in an application activity. Finally, in the evaluation section of the lesson the class shares their activity. Using these transitions helps my students persevere through complex actvities.
Another helpful strategy I use is providing students with the opportunity to collaborative with a partner during the lesson. The partners are heterogeneous ability partners, and the students do have assigned seats by their partner. The partners help each other during the lesson, and share their understanding during partner talk time. They are also allowed to help each other at any other time in the lesson. Using partners creates an environment in the classroom where students help each other, and I am more of a facilitator.
As the lesson begins I need to do three things. First, I want to excite my students, and I need to make sure the class connects personally to the lesson. This lesson starts with me seating the class in the lounge or carpet area, and then I play the kazoo. This is just my way of getting the class excited and allowing them to engage in the lesson. I also project the lesson image on the smart board just to make sure all student know what the lesson is going to include.
Then I assess their prior knowledge, because I need to know what my students already know about sound. So, I say, "Turn and tell your partner why the kazoo makes this noise?" I anticipating students say, "Blowing makes the sound." Since, we have had some lessons on sound, but really the vibration made by blowing makes the sound. This is what my students are going to discover in the lesson. If I find that some students do know a lot about sound then I allow them to share more throughout the lesson, because it makes students feel special. Plus students find learning from their peers more meaningful. While the students are talking I write some of the things they say just to record their prior knowledge.
Last, I share what we are going to do in the lesson, so the students understand my expectations. When they know what to expect students seem to persevere through a challenging lesson more easily. So, I say, "Today we are going to blow into the kazoo, and learn why it makes the sound."
During this section the students label their science journal, blow into the kazoo, and record their observations. They also record what they feel. I begin by giving each child a kazoo, and giving my instructions.
First, we label the page in their science journal with the words: kazoo and sound. I do write this one the board: science journal. The students also write the date in the top right of their journal, and I model this too by writing it on the board. With the date and topic on the page we can reflect back on this lesson during a culminating activity.
I say, "Blow in your kazoo, and then be sure to feel the kazoo as you are blowing. Then record what you feel and what you hear in your science journal. This is how scientists explore concepts. They make observations, and then record their observations." You may enjoy the video about allowing student to explore: students exploring. So, I am hoping the students feel the vibrations and hear the sound. They can record this as just words and by using bullets. I rarely ask the class to create complete sentences as they make observations. It takes too long, and when I am making observation I don't use complete sentences. So, making notes using bullets to organize ideas is the best method for my class.
I also write the vocabulary words on a poster: vocabulary to help my students spell.
After exploring and making observations we need to engage in some discourse for several reasons. First, students need to talk about their ideas to confirm their evidence and understanding. When they talk about their understanding they can work their ideas and decide if they are right or wrong. In addition, they learn to build upon the ideas of their peers to develop a deeper understanding. Another great thing about discourse is that students enjoy talking, and develop better communication skill as they talk out their experience or observations.
So, I say, "Talk to your partner about what you observed when you felt the kazoo after you blew in it. Also, talk about what you heard?" Then I listen, and sometimes I see student just sitting there. Now, one great thing about partner talk is that everyone is participating, so I specifically get close to the group not talking. Then I just say in a kind voice, "What did you observe? What you write in your journal?" This is when it is so important that I actually check that everyone is participating in the explore section, because if they don't have observations then I am stuck. I have to get the group to blow in the kazoo and feel it again. Then they have to write notes. If I find that the group is just not able to communicate them I offer suggestions. I might say, "Did you feel anything on the kazoo?" They will say, "Yes." Then I ask, "What did you feel." Many students will say, "It moves or wiggles," because "vibrate" is not in their vocabulary. But, after several lessons on sound students develop vocabulary. So, I often ask leading questions to help my students that are quiet.
After the partner talk, I say, "Tell the group opposite the table as you what you observed." Now they are sharing: student explaining observation, and basically compare their notes. I find that if somebody is wrong one person at the table redirects them and actually shows the evidence to prove it. I have explicitly modeled this throughout every lesson this year. I say, "We help each other. We explain our reasoning. We are here for each other." This creates an environment where students learn from each other. While my students are talking I walk around listening to assess their understanding, and making sure everyone is participating.
Last, I ask for a volunteer to share their observations. Then I listen and ask, "Will somebody add to that?" Then we have thoroughly discussed our observations, and I know that each child is able to verbalize what happens when you blow in a kazoo.
Now we read this text to answer the question: Why does the vibrating kazoo make noise? So we are going deeper into the content, and students are elaborating on why the kazoo makes this noise. They are going to investigate by reading the text and look for evidence to answer the question. This is research for the class.
So, I ask the question and write it on the board. My students copy the question down in their journal. Then I give every child the text and read the text to the class twice. I am concerned about the students learning that vibrations make sound. It is really important to avoid making the class read it independently, since many first graders get stuck in decoding. Therefore they do not comprehend the content, and I want them to learn the content.
One the third reading I say, "Now, when I read the answer to our question. Why does the vibrating kazoo make noise? You need to underline it or highlight it." Basically, they are identifying text evidence to answer a research question.
Last, the students record the answer in their science journal: student work under the question. As they are working I walk around and help them. If I see a student struggling I might write the answer and let them trace it. If a child did not find the answer then I reread the text and help them locate it.
Now the lesson is about over I need to assess my students on sounds, speaking, and I ask them to evaluate their peers. So, I select about three student to read their answer from the elaborate section. They had to find the answer to the question: Why does the kazoo make a sound? The students read straight out of their science journal. There is one little issue, everyone wants to present or read their answer. So, I just let them do it during snack or recess. To make sure everyone gets the same number of chance during the lesson I have a spreadsheet I tape on the board behind the presentation area. I just check off who has presented and go down the list. If somebody is absent them I let them present when they come back to school.
After the students present their answer I ask the students listening to give them peer feedback. This means they have to tell their peer something they agree with or disagree with and why. It allows the students to think critically about what their peers are saying, and it makes the listeners accountable. It starts the year slow, and I model how to evaluate each other everyday for about a month. Students can still practice giving evaluations, because they need practice. But, we are now in January, and students evaluate each other. They even build upon each others comments, and I just facilitate, but this took tons of modeling every day.
Another thing that helps in this section is that I use positive behavior support to get the students to do what I want during the lesson. It is basically when I focus the class on what I want them to do instead of what I don't want them to do. I say, "Criss cross apple sauce, pockets on the floor, hands in our laps talking no more." Next, I continue, "Be sure to look at the speaker. Think about what they are saying, and be prepared to give them some feedback."
Last, I try to use a spreadsheet during this time to assess the students learning. I place a check by the area the student masters in the lesson, and I put a minus in the box where they need work. The students' names are on the left, and the areas I am assessing are at the top. Our goal is 3/3. I put the standard, 1-PS4-1 at the top, speaking, and peer feedback. Then beside each child's name I write their score. With this data I can then plan future lessons for small group to target the students area where they need to improve.