To engage the kids in this lesson, I call them to the floor and have them sit like scientists. That means they are crisscross applesauce, hands in lap, mouths closed, brains, ears and eyes ready to learn. They respond well to this request because they know that science is fun an exciting and they find it a privilege to participate.
Once they are seated, I get the excitement going by hiding a small block of wood behind my back and telling them I have something wonderful for them to see today, "Today I brought you, WOOOOOOD!" and hold it up for them to see. They instantly respond with enthusiasm.
I say, "Tell me about this wood!" and I call on random volunteers to share their thoughts.
Once we are done, I bring out the properties of wood and paper chart we made in the last lesson and we quickly review it. We do this to make sure everyone is remembering what we've already learned.
I then pose the question:
How can we change the shape of wood?
The exploration begins after I have the table leaders remove everything from the top of the tables and place it on the floor. Once that is complete, I call one table at a time to go sit down in their chairs.
I choose three helpers to pass out materials ONE at a time. If I have all three items passed out at the same time, it can cause chaos because the kids don't understand how to organize delivery so that they are delivering to the same students at the same time or consequetively following each other.
I have the plates delivered first, then the wood pieces, last the sand paper which is delivered AFTER we do steps one and two below. The kids are instructed not to touch anything until I give instructions. This means their hands remain in their laps until I tell them the first thing to do.
Steps to the exploration:
I walk around the room and collect the sawdust myself. I collect it in a plastic ziploc bag and place it with my science equipment.
Once all the students have returned to their spots on the floor and sitting like scientists, I begin to inquire about their new knowledge.
I do this by having the kids think about what they experienced during the activity. I give them 30 seconds to think silently to themselves followed by 30 seconds each to share their thoughts with their talking partner.
I then choose four random students to share their discussion with the class. I do this by pulling name sticks from a name stick can. I do this because talking to a partner is not enough. They need an opportunity to hear a variety of contributions.
As the kids share with the whole group, I record the information on chart paper so we can reflect on them in future lessons.
We remain sitting on the floor and I ask the kids if they have any idea how or why the sandpaper was able to change the shape of the wood blocks. I choose random volunteers to share what they think.
I then explain to the kids how the sand paper is rough and causes friction on the wood particles which "rips" tiny pieces of wood off and leaves it on the paper plate. I explain to the kids that the particles are still a form of the wood, it's just been changed from it's original state.
The evaluation this lesson is done in the science journals. The kids are asked to draw a picture of how we changed our wood using sand paper. When the journals are complete I call one table at a time to come to the carpet with their science journals and wood blocks.
I have the kids turn to their floor partner and share with them their changed wood and their journal entries. They are asked to tell each other about their experience with changing wood and one thing they learned from it.
Once the partners have shared, I randomly choose four kids by pulling names from the name stick can to share with the whole class something they learned from the experience. I do this so the kids can learn from each other. This also serves as the closure to our lesson and the kids lean to communicate scientific information with a little coaching.