As with most of my units, I work to design an assessment that connects the material to a tangible product. With this diagram, the student will demonstrate the process of a rain forecast. Since rain is commonly found in most parts of the country, I chose it as an example. This weather process could be adjusted to represent other types of weather as well. I’ve included the link to the Google Draw to make it easier for you to adjust it to fit your unique needs.
• Weather Forecast Assessment Sheet
The students come into the class after recess. I have them sit down on their carpet squares and ask them to think about weather. I asked, “When you think of weather, what do you think of first?” “Rain” “Water” “Anything else?” “Metorologists” For added clarification, I tell them “Rain is called 'precipitation' (the Science word for ‘water’) is one of the elements we learned about weather. Meteorology is the study of it. Anything else?” “Seasons!”. “That's another part. Now think what we learned about ways these things all fit together to create weather. We are going to help a Meteorologist forecast the weather by telling him how to put together the data factors.” I asked this line of questioning to see if they could access the information that about features that were unique to some forms of weather.
I show them the Weather list picture and labels from a previous lesson. I connect it to two different elements (Season, Tracking Data) from other lessons. My goal was to design a Summative Assessment that could connect weather factors most familiar to the students. These elements could easily be changed to suit your unique geographic area. Though there were additional elements discussed over the course of the lessons, these two (season and observation) adequately address the target goal of analyzing data to create a forecast. “Why is it important to look at the data before we make a forecast?” A students answered, “Because then we won’t be wrong” “Being wrong is OK. It's important to be wrong because that's how we learn, right?" "Right!!" "So let me ask you this..what do you think a correct forecast does to help people?” “They can know what to do then.”
Before I begin, I give a few instructions:
• First, take a minute and look at the weather elements on the paper. What kind of weather do you predict?
• Next, look closer at the data and analyze it. What does it tell you about the weather?
• After, use the first line to write down which weather you think the data indicates. Look at the words on the top of the sheet to give you some choices.
• Then, explain to a partner why you made this choice. Explain the evidence that made you decide.
• Last, compare it to your first prediction to see if a closer look gave you a different answer.
Filling in a blank with a type of weather would be an easy step for this summative assessment, so I created depth (rigor) by adding the explanation piece. When completing this step, it's essential for them to thoroughly explain that their forecast is based on the data from the sheet, not the data from the weather experienced that day. It can be confusing to differentiate make sure that data is the focus. To be successful with no prompting from me, I expect to hear comments like how a high humidity or a repeated weather tracking indicates a certain kind of weather.
I have them go back to their tables and pass out the worksheet. “Use this worksheet to show the combination of elements that indicates a certain weather forecast. Think back on the the things you learned about these elements and how you saw them work together with our recent rain.” I want them to connect them to this assessment so reference recent weather to give them a sense of ownership. I make the directions fairly specific yet simple in order to give them an opportunity to demonstrate mastery over the material.
As they make their choice and begin to fill in their evidence, I mingle around the class and check in with the students about their choices. The resulting products and related explanation acts as a way to illustrate their processing of the habitat lessons. The project based rubric attached is my way to looking at this unit from a lens of performance based assessment.