Next Generation Science Standard Connection
This lesson connects to 1-PS4-1, because my students are going to learn about how sound travels to answer a question of their own. My students completed a KWL chart when I started the unit, and they had several questions about sound. I said, "So, what do you wonder or want to know about sound?" One student barked, and I said, "I see you are barking. Are you wondering about dogs barking?" She said, "Yes. How do they do that?" I then created this lesson to specifically allow the students to discover how dogs bark. I am teaching this lesson after I have already taught several lessons where students experiment with sound, so my students have some prior knowledge.
Now, I know this is not a real experiment, but my students are going to research the answer to the question using resources I provide. Then they are going to create a poster sharing their knowledge of how sound travels by the vibrations in their dogs vocal cords.
To keep help my students understand what I am expecting them to do I try to keep several thing consistent in most of my lessons. We do transitions at the same time in every lesson. I begin in the lounge or carpet area with the engage section of the lesson. Then we move to the desks in the center of the room for the explore, explain, and elaborate section. Last, the lesson ends in the lounge where my students present their poster.
Another thing that helps all students experience success is that I use peanut butter jelly partners. These are heterogeneous ability partners that remain consistent throughout the lesson. The students have assigned seats next to their partner, and they work together during the lesson. If a students needs help reading, writing, or understanding directions their partner helps them.
During this section I excite the class, assess their prior knowledge, and share with them what we are going to be doing in the lesson. I excite the class to help motivate them to persevere through a lengthy and complex task. By assessing my students' prior knowledge I can determine how much extra support my students are going to need during the lesson. If I find somebody knows a great deal of information about how dogs bark then I can allow them to share their knowledge. Students like sharing, and students enjoy learning more from their peers. In addition, when students know what to expect they can be prepared for the entire lesson.
First, I say, "Tell your peanut butter jelly partner everything you know about how dogs bark." I listen to see what my students know, but anticipate the students have no prior knowledge. Not one child had anything to offer when they ask this question at the beginning of the unit during the KWL activity.
Then I say, "Today we are going to research how dogs bark, because this was something you wanted to know when we began the sound unit. First, you will do some research by reading text I selected for you. Then you will create a poster sharing your knowledge about how dogs bark."
This is the section where we transition to the desks in the center of the room and I allow my students to explore by reading text that I have provided. It is February now and most of my students can read, so I am going to allow them to read the text with a partner or read it to themselves.
First, I say, "I want you to think about the question: How does my dog bark? You are going to read the text: How Dogs Bark and try to find the answer. If you need help reading ask your partner to read it to you or I can come and help you. As you read remember to read like a detective. Look for clues that help you find the answer. It may take you several reading to find the answer. Once you find it be sure to underline the words or highlight them. Then you can record your evidence in your science journal."
I distribute one copy of text to each child. I did my own research and typed this text specifically for this lesson. When I did a search I just could not find a text that was at the reading level of my students, but also answered our question. It seems that when I do lessons to specifically teach about a question my students have I need to just write the text. I show the class the image on this link, so they can see the structure of the dogs vocal fold.
The students are actually engaging in scientific research and I walk around to monitor their progress. Plus, it helps keep the students on task. If I see a students needing help I ask, "What can I help you with?" It is important to allow students to struggle some, but I do not want to let anyone reach the frustration point. Having a partner of a different ability helps students, and I often direct them to their partner when I see them struggling. I might say, "Did you ask your partner to help you?" Here are two examples of student work: student work 1 and student work 2.
Now, the class remains seated in the center of the room in desks and I ask them to share their research. This the time when we work on communication skills which I want to develop in my students. Students need to learn to build upon the ideas of their peers, talk about their evidence, and think critically about answering questions. When they can do all of this students are able to develop a deeper understanding of how sound is created and travels.
First, I say, "Now tell your partner what you recorded in your science journal." I listen: partner talk, and then add, "If you need to change anything go ahead and do it now."
Then I say, "Share your evidence with the group opposite the table." Then I listen again if I see a group that needs help with an explanation I offer the explanation. But, I often notice my students naturally explain their reasoning, and show the evidence by locating their answer in the text. At the beginning of the year I modeled this a lot, and if they seem to struggle I go to the text. Then I reread the text, and I help students find the answer.
Last, we engage in a whole group discussion about how dogs bark. I say, "Will a volunteer share what they learned. How do dogs bark?" Then I ask, "Will another student add to that?" If they did not show where they found the evidence in the text then I ask the students, "Will you show us where you found that in the text?" I have the text on the Smart Board, and the student can reference it there. They can also just tell what sentence the answer is in, or they can read the answer.
The class is still seated at their desks, and they each create a poster showing their understanding of how dogs bark. The poster needs to have an illustration and at least two sentences explaining how dogs bark.
I say, "Class I want you to create a poster showing your understanding of how dogs bark. You need to include an illustration, and two sentences explaining how dogs bark. When you finish show it to your partner. Partners check to see that each person has the illustration, and two sentences explaining how dogs bark. Make sure you use accurate colors to represent dogs. Dogs can be many colors, but pink and red are not colors that dogs. So, use colors that a real dog might be when you illustrate the dog."
The students are engaging in an application activity to help them retain the new information they learned, and they are helping their peers make sure they included all they need to in their poster.
At this point in the lesson we transition back to the lounge. During this section I allow students to present: presentation their poster, evaluate their peers work, and I assess their work. This is the students favorite part of the lesson, because they get to share their work. I find when student know they get to present they work extra hard during the lesson.
First, and I ask the class to chant the lesson goal while they walk. I say, "Chant with me three times: I can research why dogs bark as you move." This keeps them focused on the goal, and it helps students move quickly with a purpose. Once they are seated I use a spreadsheet to determine who's turn it is to present, so that each child gets the same number of times to share. I simply check off their name as they share their work. After each presentation I ask the students listening to give their peers feedback. They need to agree, disagree, or tell them something they might change about their work. This engages students in a higher order thinking opportunity.
To make sure the students can give peer feedback I have modeled feedback daily. If I see nobody can respond then I simply give feedback. Once thing that is essential to make sure students can respond is to ensure they listen. I use positive behavior support to get the class to sit quietly and listen. As soon as they get to the lounge, I say, "Chant with me. Criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor hands in our laps talking no more." Then I add, "We are listening. We are looking at the speaker, and be prepared to give them feedback."
The last thing I need to do it to assess the students learning. I find using a spreadsheet is helpful. the students names are on the left, and I label three columns. The columns are how dogs bark, speaking, and peer feedback. If the student show they master the skill in the lesson then I put a check by their name, but if they do not show mastery I just put an x. The goal is 3/3. I use this spreadsheet to plan small group lessons to help my students master all of the skills.