Preparing for the Rock Away Town Council Presentations

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SWBAT present a summary of their erosion solutions and provide reasons based on observations why their design should be chosen.

Big Idea

Companies have tested their erosion solutions and prepare their presentations to explain their erosion design for the Rock Away Town Council.

NGSS Connections and Class Preparation

30 minutes

Students select their best design and prepare a presentation explaining their erosion solution.

In a previous lesson, 'Erosion Expert Panels', some students struggled to give a coherent presentation, even though we developed a 'presentation' anchor chart. In this lesson, I supply more scaffolding to help students prepare for their engineering presentations.

NGSS Standards

2-ESS2-1.      Compare multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land.* 

Students review their erosion designs and choose the one they want to present to 'Rock Away Town Council'.

Science Practices

- Analyzing and Interpreting Data (SP 4 )

Students review their their test data to determine which erosion design best addresses given criteria.

- Engaging in Argument from Evidence (SP 7)

Students discuss the merits of their designs solutions and then develop a their claim based on their observations.

- Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information (SP 8)

Students prepare and present their erosion solutions, synthesizing their testing, observations and conclusions.

Cross-cutting Concepts - Appendix G

- Systems and System Models (XC 4)

Students explain how the parts of their erosion design work together to stop or slow erosion and run-off.

Lesson Preparation

cue the Rock Away Town Presentation Power Point

copy the presenation notes to card stock and cut out; one set/team

cue "Tips on Presenting"


index cards

construction paper to make a published erosion solution diagram

Question for the Day

10 minutes

Science starts with the kiddos on the rug discussing a question that is usually written on the board. 

This allows students time to consider today's topic before the lesson has officially begun.

Students know that when they return from lunch, we meet on the rug to read our 'science question for the day'. I have established this routine with the kiddos to keep transition time short and effective and redirect student's attention back to content while allowing time for focused peer interaction.

After students sit on the rug with their erosion company, I pass out their company Erosion Design Observations and diagrams from the previous lab.

Question of the Day (slide 1 on power point): Which erosion solution will your company recommend to Rock Away Town and why?

I listen to teams noting which groups provide sound reasons for their choice and which groups may need to review their observations to help them decide.

I meet with these teams when students begin to work on their presentations.

After a I have had an opportunity to listen to each group, I signal students' attention.

"Today you will prepare your presentation for the Rock Away Town City Council. They are looking forward to hearing from each member of your company and your solution to their erosion problem."

"There are 3 parts to prepare for your presentation, gathering the information, organizing your presentation and practicing."

"When you prepare your presentation, remember to think about your audience. Your audience is... right the citizens of Rock Away Town. They will be curious to learn about your erosion design. You are the experts explaining your best solutions. They will need to understand what you did, what the results were and why this is the best solution."

"Today you will work with your company to prepare for your Rock Away Town presentations. First you will gather and organizer your information. This is similar to what you did when you worked in your Expert Erosion Panels." (link to lesson)

I direct teams to move to their 'company space' for the next set of directions. "Please take your pencil box and and move to your assigned area."






Preparing the Information

35 minutes

While students are making their way to their 'company space', I pass out a prepared set of presentation index cards to each 'company'.

Since I am establishing what I want to hear in the presentations, I did not want to use time for the kiddos to copy the same information onto their cards. Instead they will have more time to write key words that pertain to their design.

"I noticed when teams presented last time, there was some confusion about when to say what or some students forgot what they were going to say. So today, you will use index cards to help you prepare for your presentation."

"Sometimes presenters will have cards they hold in their hand to remind them what they need to talk about. The cards do not have sentences, but just the topic titles so that they know what they need to talk about next."

"That is what you have in front of you. These are topic cards that you will use to help prepare for your part of the presentation. You do not need to write out the answers on the card, because you already know the answers. You will share what you know by talking about it rather than writing it."

"Let's look at each card."

Card One: Company Name and Purpose

"On the top line it says: 'Introduce company'. I show this on the power point.

Just like when you go to a party, you introduce yourself when meeting someone, when you present, you need to introduce your company. The Town Council will want to know which company they are listening too, because they will be deciding which company to hire.

"You already know the name of the company, so you do not need to write the name of the company on the card. The cards help remind you what to say."

"On the next line it says 'purpose'. Your company needs to tell the town council why you are here. This is when you would say the problem your company has solved."

I call on a volunteer to introduce their company and say why they are speaking to the Rock Away Town Council.

Card Two: Model and What it represents in Rock Away Town

"Next your company spokes person describes the model, before you developed your solution, and what this represents in their town."

I call on a volunteer to model what could be said for this card.

Card Three: Company's Design Solution and Parts

"This card reminds you to share your company's design and how the parts help solve the problem."

"You know the information, you do not need to write every word you will say on the card, but you may want to write some of the key words that will help you remember the important parts of your design."

"This is where you want to point out the design elements and how each part helps with the goal of stopping or slowing erosion."

"Collaborate with your team and write the parts of the design you want to talk about. Use your diagrams to help you."

Card Four: Results: Soil and Water Observations

When I see that the companies are ready to continue, I signal for students' attention.

"Now that you explained your design you will want to tell the Rock Away Town Council how well it worked. When a scientist summarizes their observations, this is called the... Right! Results!"

"Card 4 says 'Results - Soil and Water'.  You will want to talk about what happened to the soil on the hill and the water. Look at your observation notes to help you choose your key words. "

When I see that teams have their notes completed, once again I signal for their attention. "You have just told the Rock Away Town Council the results of your design solution tests, there is only one more piece of information you need to share."

Card Five: Conclusion and Questions

"Remember you are a company that wants to be hired by Rock Away Town, so you want to say why your design should be selected and why you would be a good company to work with."

"The last card is your conclusion. For this part of the presentation you honestly say what went well with your design, what criteria your design met (I point to the criteria set in the previous lesson), and what other designs would you want to test next. Then you ask for questions from the audience."

Selecting Presentation Cards

"Now that you know what information should be presented, take time now to decide who will prepare and present for each card. Remember you know the information, you do not need to write all your sentences, but you may want to write or highlight the key words so that you can look at the card to help you remember what you need to say."

The next time I do this lesson with the kiddos, I will insist that whoever does card one must also do card 5. Some students chose to only do card one. I want all my students to have experience presenting academic information.

"When you know what you are going to say for your card, check in with the other company members and help them."

I move around the room to check that each student has a part to say, and team members are helping each other review what could be said for each key word written.


What should a Presentation Sound and Look Like

10 minutes

When I see that students have a good idea about what they will say, I direct students to meet me on the rug. "Now that everyone has a part in the presentation, I want to show you a short video on how you can help make your part of the presentation look and sound the best."

I show them the video, and then ask students what they learned about presentations. I write the tips on an anchor chart.

"Now you know which part you will say and you have seen some tips on how to give a presentation, it is time for you to practice! First, you will practice saying your part in front of a mirror then you will say your part to a partner."

I pass out small mirrors for students to use and move around the room to listen to students practice. If teams finish early, I encourage them to practice their entire presentation.

Next time I do this lesson, I plan to show the "Tips on Presenting" during a guided writing time to kick off an unit on "All About Books". The students and I can create an anchor chart and write a book on 'Tips on Presenting' together. Then when students do this lesson, they will have the 'tips on presenting anchor chart to refer to.





It's a Wrap

10 minutes

I signal teams to the rug and ask what went well. "The next time we meet for science, you will have time to practice your presentation before you share with the 'town council'.

I share what I notice about what went well and direct students to put their cards in their science folder. "Remember when you have free time, you can practice saying your part."

Finally I ask teams to select one of their members to make a 'published' diagram of the erosion solution that they will share with the Rock Away Town Council. "This person will be the lead illustrator and will organize how the rest of the team can help with the diagram."

Time will be set aside during art for teams to work on their pubished diagram.

Presentation Day

I chose to have the students present during their library time, to change the venue and plan a time other than science time for students to present. I will use a rubric to score presentations.