Materials: wand magnets, recording sheet, and clipboards
The students will start by gathering on the carpet and a discussion of new vocabulary will happen. They then work with partners or independently to test a variety of objects to see if they are magnetic or not. The students will be making predictions, testing them, and deciding if their prediction was correct or not. The lesson will wrap up with a science circle discussion about their findings.
NOTE: Our district is transitioning to the NGSS. Although we are implementing some of the units this year, I am still required to teach units that have now been assigned to other grade levels. This unit is one of those units that has been affected by the shifts in grade levels. I continue to teach this unit because it meets the following Vermont State Standards:
S1-2:2 Students demonstrate their understanding of predicting and hypothesizing
S1-2:3 Students demonstrate their understanding of experimental design
S1-2:4 Students demonstrate their ability to conduct experiments
S1-2:6 Students demonstrate their ability to analyze data
This investigation also addresses the NSES expectation of students understanding that magnets attract and repel each other.
I want students to gain a sound and working understanding of the scientific method. Although this unit will bring in magnetic concepts, the "major focus" continues to be developing learners to think like scientists through experimental learning.
I start the lesson by introducing three science vocabulary words from this unit. I introduce and discuss each one with the students.
"I want to add the first three unit words to our vocabulary wall. The first term is magnet. A magnet is a piece of material (such as iron or steel) that is able to attract certain metals. Let's write this on a sentence strip and hang it up. The second term is attract. Attract means to pull together. Let's also make a card for this term and hang it up. The final term is magnetic. who can give me the meaning of the word magnetic?"
I choose to make a vocabulary wall of important words from the unit because I want students to be abel to access the meanings and use them in their writing. By creating this wall cooperatively it makes it more meaningful and the students understand what is being displayed. I am asking them for the meaning of the term magnetic because it is there term that they will be working with the most today. I am introducing it last so that it is the last term they hear before they start to work. Their predictions will be based on weather or not something is magnetic. If they don;t come up with a "workable" meaning, I will then give it to them.
I ask the students to each get a clipboard and a pencil. I place the wand magnets in the middle of the carpet and give each student a copy of Is It Magnetic? recording sheet.
"You are all going to be investigative scientists today. You are going to find out if items from around the room are magnetic or not. Let's start by putting your name and date on the top of your recording sheet. You will be using a wand magnet to test the items. Do you know where the magnet is on a wand magnet?"
I want to make sure that the students understand that only the bottom of the wand magnet is the actual magnet. It is important to do this to make sure that they are using the correct end and not skewing their data.
"Let's take a look at the recording sheet. In the first column, you will choose an object and write down the name of it. You should do your best with the spelling and/or you can ask a friend for help. I have also laid out a variety of objects on the round table. You can also test any of those objects. The only objects that you can not test in the room are the computers, iPads, and Smart Board. magnets can damage these items and we need to be responsible with them."
I continue to go over each section of the recording sheet to make sure that they are clear on what they are doing.
"You can now go ahead and start investigating. Make sure to make your prediction BEFORE you test. Remember, you can choose to work with a partner or you can work by yourself."
I am letting them work cooperatively or independently because their is always great conversation that occurs during this investigation. Students want to share their findings with each other and are always amazed by some of the things that the magnet will or will not attract to.
As students are working, I circulate around to each student/team and check in with their investigation. I emphasize the use of the vocabulary attract, magnetic, and prediction. I also look to see if their predictions start to change based on testing that they already have done. This video captures one of those conversations.
NOTE: As for the miscellaneous items that I put out on the round table, I choose to put not magnetic metal items (i.e. aluminum screws). I want them to not just assume that all metal is magnetic.
"I would like all of you to clean up all of your materials and bring your clipboard and recording sheet to the carpet for science circle."
The focus of this discussion is for the students to share out what they discovered. I want them to explain what they found out and to share similarities and differences of their results.
"I am going to ask you to share what you found out today. One person will start and then you can just join in the conversation. Remember to listen to the speaker and learn from what he/she is saying."
I choose this conversation format to encourage peer to peer dialogue and to eliminate the idea that science discussion is only a back and forth between the teacher and a student. I want to be more of a moderator to foster their ideas.
"I would like you to each take out your science notebook. Please write the date and focus (magnets) in the corner. I would then like you to glue this question into your book and go find a spot to answer it. The question is, Looking at your results, do you notice anything in common about all of the items that are magnetic? You should state yes or no and then explain why."
I am choosing this as the elaborating question because I want to see if students can start to categorize magnetic items.
I use the Science Journal Scoring Rubric to score their entries. I want them to see that their are expectations and an accountability piece to each entry. In this case, I am looking that they gave a details explanation of what they noticed.