Next Generations Science Standard Connection
In this lesson I connect to 1-PS4-1 by allowing students to plan and carry out an investigation to determine whether metal or plastic creates a louder sound. Then they will draw a conclusion that metal makes a louder sound which hit. So, I have laid the foundation for the class to cary out this investigation by allowing students to engage in research about sound, planning investigations for them, and supporting the class as they engage in their own experiment. Now, I am giving the students more freedom to plan an experiment where they create a wind chime to test whether plastic or metal makes a louder sound. But, I am always with them to support the student in their investigation and planning their experiment.
The lesson begins in the lounge where I excite the class and assess their prior knowledge. Then we move to the desks in the center of the room where the students plan what they are going to do to find out whether plastic or metal creates a louder sound when hit with an object of the same material. In the explore, explain, and elaborate section the students sit int he middle of the room in groups of four. Last, we transition back to the lounge to share what the students found in their experiment. These transitions help the students stay engaged and on task, because the get to move frequently.
The other thing that really helps my students persevere is using heterogeneous ability partners. The students work with this partner throughout the entire lesson. The partners help each other with tasks like reading, writing, evaluating, and generating ideas. They also have assigned seats beside each other throughout the lesson.
Now we begin the lesson with the students seated in the lounge or carpet area. I excite the class, assess their prior knowledge, and tell the students the plan for the lesson. Students get engaged and excited when I show them am image of a wind chime on the Smart Board. The image may also activate their prior knowledge, because some students may have seen or heard a wind chime. Then
Next, I take the process of connecting to their prior knowledge a little further. I try to teach the class to reflect upon their prior lessons and I say, "Please turn and tell your partner how sound is created." I am pretty sure my students know that sound is a result of vibrations. But, I go ahead and ask, "Turn and tell your partner what kind of material makes louder sound when hit. Your choices are plastic and metal." Then I listen, and I record the number of children that think plastic and the number that think metal is louder. This is just I fun way to document the classes' prior knowledge before instruction.
Last, I share the plan for the lesson, because it helps students meet my expectations. Plus, they seem to follow instructions better when they know what we are going to do in the lesson. I say, "Today we are going to plan an experiment to determine if plastic or metal makes a louder sound when hit. Then you are actually going to carry out your plan to discover the answer. Last, you will share you experiment and what you learned with the class."
At this point I am going to allow the students to work with a partner to plan an experiment to determine if metal or plastic makes a louder sound when hit. By laying a very solid foundation in planning and experimenting the students are ready to plan their first experiment.
The first thing I do is ask the students to date the page their science journal, and they need to record the question we are trying to answer. So, I place a model on the Smart Board, so all students can copy the information down. For the students that are still learning to write I write for them with a highlighter and they trace my writing with a pencil.
So, I say, "Class you and your partner are going to plan an experiment to see which is louder when hit: plastic or metal. I am providing you with some material. You can use the hanger, yarn, plastic spoons, metal spoons, and if you need anything else just ask me for it. I may or may not have any other things you need. But, if I have it you are welcome to use it. When you decide on a plan please record it in your science journal under the title: plan." I have told them what they are going to do, but I have given them limitations. The material are going to limit the students on how creative they get. Although, I did show them a wind chime in the engage section to really model something they might create.
I walk around to monitor the students talking about their plans, and I stop and check in with my students. I may say, "What is your plan? I cannot wait to see your plan written in your science journal."
This is a huge portion of the lesson, and if the students do not share their plan it could really cause a problem later in the lesson. Their peers serve as a resource to bounce their plan off of and this helps students develop a more complete plan. It is my experience that the students help each other, learn from each other, and ultimately develop a plan that will help them arrive at the answer to our question. If the plan is not designed to answer the question then the students will have to recreate a plan to answer the question, so partner talk is essential.
First, I say, "Tell your partner your plan: partner talk to do to find out which is louder when hit." Then I walk around and listen. If I see a group not talking I say, "Did you share your plan?" Many times they did and I am just late to get to their table, because I was listening to another. Then I say, "Do you all agree that the other groups plan will work? If you need to change your plan go ahead and do that now. Be sure to record your plan in your science journal, so we can use it later."
Next, I say, "Turn and tell the group across the table what you plan to do." Now, the students across the table may have no plan, but after talking to a peer they can arrive at a plan. Here is an example of how this works: talk across the table.
Now we have a whole group discussion, because students may want to change or add to their plan after hearing others ideas. This is how we learn from each other. I say, "Will a volunteer share their plan?" Then we listen and I say, "Can anyone add to that, or just share a different plan?"
Now, it is time for the students to actually carry out their plan. I distribute materials for each group one at a time. I ask them what they need and I just bring it to them.
Then I walk around and watch students as they are attempting to see which is louder. They I stop and check in as well. I say, "So, which is louder? Why do you think metal is louder?" My video may be helpful in explaining how checking in with students. I also have a video of a student experimenting. This proficient student work is what I expect from all students.
Basically, I am transitioning into a facilitator to make sure no child reaches the frustration point. I help them anyway they need help. If a child needs me to write what they say with a highlighter and trace it I do that. If they need help due to a lack of fine motor skill I may help them as well. I am going to need to help several students tie knots in their string.
As the lesson comes to a close I assess the students, listen to them explain what they discovered, and finally I allow the students to evaluate their peers presentation. I call on three groups to present their work, and I use a spreadsheet to check off the students names as they present. This makes sure each child gets the same number of opportunities to explain their experiment and discovery. If everyone want to present I allow them to present during snack or at recess.
First I use some positive behavior support to get my students to sit and listen to their peers. So, I say, "Criss cross apple sauce, pockets on the floor, hands in our laps talking no more." Then I add, "Our eyes are on the speaker. We are listening to what they say and preparing to give them feedback." So, each child must give their peers some feedback about wether they agree or disagree with what they said. They may also add to what their peer presented. This makes each student think critically about why metal makes a louder sound.
Then I assess the students using a spreadsheet. Their names are on the left and I label three columns at the top. In the first I put 1-PS4-1, but I am looking to see that the students discovered metal sounds louder than plastic. The next column is speaking and listening, and I am looking to see that the students can verbally communicate with their peers. The last column is peer feedback, and I look to see that each child gives appropriate feedback to their peers. My goal for the students is 3/3, but we continue to work on the areas they need help in small group.