What Is It Used For

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SWBAT test and classify materials by how they are used

Big Idea

Some materials are better suited to a job than others. Students will design ways to test the materials to see how they can best be used.

I Can Statement

5 minutes

I ask students to read the I can statement with me. "I can figure out how a tool might best be used by exploring the tool."

I ask students if they can give me examples of a tool they have used, and why they have used it. I let students share the tools that they know of. In our last lesson, students classified objects so I encourage students to also help us classify the tool, ie is it one that you use at school, a builder uses, a doctor would use, a nurse would use, etc. Bringing classification into the introduction to this lesson will help to build connections between the lessons.

The purpose of today's lesson is to begin to see how the shape of a tool may influence its use. There are a variety of screwdriver shaped tools but they have different purposes. Some are Phillips screwdrivers, some are flat head, some are more like chisels, etc. The shape of the head of the tool determines how it might best be used. I want students to begin to discover how shape plays a role in use. 


Exploring New Tools

20 minutes

I have gathered a variety of strange looking tools Unknown Objects to Look At that I hope most students have not seen before. I have numbered each tool.  I set the tools out on the table. I say, "did you ever think about how some things are better suited for a job than others? Imagine that you wanted to sharpen your pencil, would it be a good idea to use the water fountain for that? Why not?" I know students will laugh at this comparison, but it will help them to realize that each tool has a purpose for which it is designed. 

"Today I have a set of tools that I want you to look at and see if you can figure out what they might be best used for. You will look at some of the tools, experiment with them, and then show us what you think they might be used for. There are some categories on your journal page to help you get started. Is your tool best used in a kitchen, in a wood shop, in a car repair shop, or in sewing? Is your tool used to cut something, break something, mix something, open something, put something together?  Each tool will be explored by at least 2 groups and then we will compare our findings. There is a number on each tool, so in your journal you will want to make sure you write about the tool beside the correct number."

I ask students to take out their buddy wheels and one student draws a number. Students join with their buddy and I give each group a tool to begin with. I also hand out journal pages. I give students about 5 minutes to explore with their tool and to record what they think it might be used for. I give students a 2 minute warning that they will be receiving a new tool. After the two minutes I move each tool to a new group for students to explore. I move the tools a third time allowing each group to explore 3 different tools. I try to make sure that each group has a variety of tools to explore.

Comparing Our Findings

15 minutes

Each tool has now been looked at by 3 groups. I want students to now see if there are certain tools that would probably be better suited for one job than another and then to determine why. 

On the board I put up a list from the journals:used in a kitchen, in a wood shop, in a car repair shop,  in sewing, used to cut something, break something, mix something, open something, put something together. I hold up the tool numbered 1 and ask the groups who looked at number one to tell us which categories they chose. I tell them that they may have picked 2 different categories. I put a one beside each of the categories that students list. I do the same for each of the tools. 

I ask students to look at the tools that all the groups listed the same way. "Why do you think that a particular tool might be listed as "used in a kitchen and used to mix something by every group? What is it about this tool that led people to make that decision?" I hope that students will talk about the shape of the tool and possibly about what the tool is made out of as they respond to these questions. My goal is for students to understand that the shape of an object, and what it is made out of, makes it more suited to a particular job than other shapes might. Talking about how we decide what a tool is used for

We repeat this with the other tools that have been listed similarly by each group. If no tools are listed the same way by at least 2 groups, we will talk about why people might have had different ideas about the tools. Did the shape or material make a difference in what people decided?

Individual Assessment

10 minutes

I want to end today's lesson by asking students to think about how shape and material are important to what a tool is used for. I want to understand how well students grasp the importance of these things to how things are designed and built.

I give each student a second journal page. I say, "I want you to take a few minutes today to answer the question, how does the shape of an object and what it is made out of help it do its job. I also want you to think of one object that you know of whose shape helps you when you use it. I want you to tell what that object is and why its shape is right for its intended job. It can be any object you can think of that you use at school, at home or when you are involved in a special activity."

I give students about 10 minutes to complete the journal page. I collect the pages so I can assess student understanding for this NGSS standard.