Next Generation Science Standard Connection
This lesson is the final lesson in a unit designed to teach students how sound is created and how sound travels through objects. The standard being addressed is 1-PS4-1, and the students are going to use their knowledge to design an object that creates sound. Prior to this lesson I have laid a foundation that will help my students be successful in their planning and design. Here is a video: planning an investigation showing how I help my students learn to plan an investigation. We have read about sound, experimented with sound, and given presentation related to sound. Some of our experiments involved using cups to make a telephone, using tuning forks to hear sound, and creating wind chimes to compare sound. With a research, application, and communicating their understanding in prior lessons the class is ready to design something all their own that makes sound.
I try to keep a few things consistent throughout my lessons. We transition frequently to help the class move around. This allows them to persevere through a complex task. We begin in the lounge where the students become engaged in the lesson. Then we move to the desks in the center of the room for the explore, explain, and elaborate section. Finally, the lesson closes back in the lounge where the students present their object.
The other thing that really helps students is using heterogeneous ability partners that I call peanut butter jelly partners. These partners have assigned seats beside each other throughout the entire lesson. They help each other with reading, writing, and any other area where their partner needs support.
This is the time when I try to excite the class, help them reflect upon prior learning, and I tell the class the plan for the lesson. First, I excite my class by showing them the lesson image on the Smart Board. Then I say, "Turn and look at the image on the board and think about what objects make sound." I give them about thirty seconds.
Then I assess their prior knowledge by asking, "Will you please turn and tell your partner what objects you know make sound." Then I listen, and I say, "Tell your partner why these objects make sound." Now the students are thinking about the things we have studied: piano, guitar, kazoo, telephone, tuning forks, and spoons. When I know what the class remembers I can really prepare to add more or less to my explanations in the lesson. I am also teaching my students to reflect upon previous learning.
Then I share the plan for the lesson, because the students seem to follow instructions better when they know up front what I am going to ask them to do. So, I say, "You are going to plan a design, and create an objects that makes noise."
In this section the students look back through their science journal and think about the objects they have studied. Then they develop a plan to create an objects that makes sound.
First I say, "Get out your science journal and look read over your notes. Think about the objects we have studied. Think about how they make sound." Then I walk around and watch the students looking and reading in their science journal.
Next, I say, "Now, begin to plan how you can create an object that makes sound. You can use any of the sound making features the things we have studied needed. I have material on the table that you can use when you actually create your object. But, you may need to know what materials I have in order to plan. I have yarn, tape, plastic, rubber bands, bowls, cups, bottles, and spoons. Your plan needs to be written down in you science journal. I have a model on the board for what it should look like. Be sure to label the day and describe your plan."
I walk around and monitor students working. If I see a student stuck I just ask, "How can I help you? What are you thinking?" Here is a student talking out the plan.
Now, is the time for the students to carry out their plan. I call each child to my table to get their supplies, and walk around to monitor. In monitoring I am looking to see that each child is feeling confident, and not reaching frustration. If I see anyone running into trouble I stop in and engage them in a conversation. I begin with, "Tell me about your plan." I listen and then ask, "How can I help? How is your object going to make noise?" I try to remember one question at a time works best for me, and I am always reminded of this when I get in a hurry. Here is an example of some student work: student with telephone and kazoo.
At this point I walk around and just offer support. It hard to predict where the students are going to struggle. Now, my role is shifting into more of a facilitator. At first I modeled everything, then I started letting the students create experiments under my guidelines, and now I am turing them look to create. The foundation in rules and procedures that I have implemented in my previous lessons allows me to give the class this freedom. It is not easy for me, but I am learning the students learn more when they are given freedom. Although, they had to learn how to properly interact with materials, each other, and how to reflect upon their prior knowledge to create something. It is with a great deal of planning, gradually releasing control, and trust that my students are successful in creating a object that makes noise.
Now the students communicate their ideas and the plan they have designed. This is an essential component to the lesson, because the students learn to bounce ideas off each others. So, when they tell each other their plan, their partner naturally responds with how it will or will not work. They also give their partner ideas that may make their plan better. This is where the students really learn how to build upon their peers ideas which is a higher order thinking skill. If you skip this part then students tend to have shallow plans, and some peoples plans are a mess. If the plan is a mess then they have to start over when the class is near the end of the lesson.
So, say, "Turn and tell your partner your plan and how your design makes sound." Then I listen. Next, I say, "Tell your partner what you think. Does it work or not?" I walk around and listen. Then I say, "Now tell your partner one thing they might do to improve their plan or design." I listen, and offer my suggestions as well. If I offer my suggestions its just to serve as a model, and they do not have to do what I suggest. Basically, the peers check to see if their partners plan works, and they help them make it better. It is essential to only ask one question at a time. I make the mistake of asking two questions, and the class never discusses the second. So, be sure to ask one question at a time, and then listen.
Now, the students have shared with their partner, but I want to make sure the students run their ideas by more than one person. So, I say, "Turn and tell the group across the table how your design makes sound." I listen, and then add, "Now tell them what you think. Does it work? How might they make it better?" Then I listen, and ask, "Will you please tell each person in the group one thing they can do to improve their work."
Finally, we have the class engage in a discussion, and I say, "Will a volunteer please share their plan and object?" We all listen and then I add, "Can anyone comment on that? Does it work? Why or why not? Can you give them an idea to make it better? If you want to add to your objects based on what you hear just do it now."
Now, I want the class to really deepen their understanding of how sound travels and what materials help sound travel. So, I have created a scenario for the student to answer a question.
I say, "Now, that you have created an object that creates sound I want you to tell me one way your object can be used by humans. Write me one sentence in your science journal explaining how this object is helpful to humans. Where might we use it? Why do we need this? How can it help us? You will read your sentence to the class in the evaluation section. After you write your sentence create an illustration of your object." It is time for me to walk around and see who needs help. In this video: talking out the purpose I talk to a student to help them arrive at an answer and here is the journal work: student work telephone- journal
When I look to see who I need to help I look for the "I'm stuck expression." I then just say, "So, tell me about your object." This just gets the student talking. Then I ask, "How might we use it?" Then I say, "Well that is one sentence you can write down." Sometimes the students need me to write the sentence with a highlighter or on a piece of paper for them to copy.
This is the final section of the lesson, and the class transitions back to the lounge. I try to allow several students to present their objects and explain to the class how it makes noise. After each child presents their information I ask the students listening to give them peer feedback. The last thing I do is assess the students work using a spreadsheet.
First graders are very social and proud of their work. So, I allow about three students to share their work and explain how the object makes sound. To make sure each child gets the same number of chances to share I use a spreadsheet and check their name off as we go. Many days everyone wants to present, so I allow them to present during recess or snack.
One thing students have to do in order to give their peers feedback is to listen. I use positive behavior support to get my students to listen. Just after they sit down we all chant, "Criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor, hands in your laps, talking no more." Then I add, "Your eyes are on the speaker. You are listening and thinking about what your peer is saying. Be prepared to give peer feedback." Peer feedback is when students add to the design of their peers object. It is a verbal evaluation of the design. They are to say things like, "It works, because vibrating objects make sound." Students might also say, " If you add water to your bottle the pitch will change."
Last, it is time for me to assess the students using a spreadsheet. The standard 1-PS4-1 is at the top in one column and I am just looking to see that my students can create something that makes sound. One other category is speaking and listening. I hope to see the students explaining themselves and their object in a clear way. The last area I assess is peer evaluation. I expect each child to comment on a presentation. The comment must be relevant to the object, design, plan, or sound. I take the data from this spreadsheet and plan small group lessons to meet my students needs.