I begin class by asking the students to think about the characteristics of good listeners. After providing wait time, I ask them to turn to a neighbor and share their thoughts. Once they have had a chance to share, I ask them to share their thoughts within the small group where they are seated. I remind the students of how much effort they put into their projects and that effort deserves the respect of their classmates. I remind the students that good listeners look at the speaker, use proper body language/posture, and ask relevant questions. I then ask the students to clear everything off of their desks, so they are not distracted during the presentation. I also hand out a listening guide that I expect the students to complete during the presentations.
This is a student work sample of one side of a completed listening guide. Ideally, the student would write an explanation as to why each hypothesis was correct or incorrect. This student only completed that for the first presentation.
I randomly select students to give their presentations. The student and his/her partner, if they have one, sets their display board on a desk at the front of the room and gives the presentation. This video describes how I use the presentation rubric to assess the presentations. Prior to the presentations we have discussed the descriptors for each of the sections on the rubric. If students miss points on the rubric, I write an explanation as to why, but more importantly, I speak with the students regarding their presentation in a later class.
Once the presentation is finished, the audience is encouraged to ask questions. The students know that I expect at least two students to ask questions about the presentation. The students do a good job of taking turns asking questions, but if they do not, I draw cards at random and have the student whose name is drawn ask a question. I remind the students that they could ask for clarification or further explanation regarding the experimental procedure or the collected data. Question stems that students can use include: Can you explain...?, Why did you....?, How did you...?
I wrap up the question section by asking the presenters to explain at least one scientific principle addressed by their experiment or to explain how their results can be utilized by their peers in their daily lives. The students have been warned that I will be asking them these questions during their presentation. I do not accept, "I don't know." as an answer and I will use guiding questions to help the students answer successfully.
The students presentations address CCSS SL.8.4 and SL.8.5 as the students are required to present claims and findings while incorporating the use of displays. NGSS Science and Engineering Practice (SP) 8 is addressed as students are required to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information. The background work prior to this presentation meets SP1, SP3, and SP7 as well.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
Practice 1 Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Practice 3 Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Practice 7 Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Practice 8 Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Near the end of class, I ask the students to refer back to their listening guides and make sure they are completed. I then ask them to review what they have written and to think about how they can apply what they have learned from the presentations to their lives. I ask for volunteers to share this information. I make sure that each presentation given has been commented on as a way to help the students feel more confident in their projects and as a way to acknowledge the effort they put into their projects.