Planning my solution

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SWBAT create a plan to solve a problem in their community.

Big Idea

Allow students opportunities to solve real problems in their community by supporting them in planning.

Lesson Overivew

Next Generations Science Standard Connection

In this lesson students are creating a solution to the problem they identified in their community in earlier lessons. The first step in solving a problem is to identify it, and research what others have done to solve this problem. So, we have done that in previous lessons. Now it is time to help the students create a scale model based on their previous research. Today we confirm the solution we researched earlier and begin to design a playground to solve the problem. Later lessons allow the students to expand on their solution, and make it better. This includes surveying other students to see what they want on a playground.

Lesson Overview

This lesson begins in the lounge where we reflect upon the observations we made in the previous lesson. We created a scale model of our school playground. We also reflect upon the things the students thought they wanted on their playground. They decided on equipment, a surface and a location in a previous lesson. solutions we chose in the previous lesson. In the explore section we move to the desks in the center of the room, and we begin to develop a scale model of the playground they want to create. The elaborate section is also in the center of the room.  I read an informational text about distances that equipment should be place on a playground. The final portion of the lesson is the evaluate section and we move back to the lounge for this portion of the lesson.

I also find using heterogenous ability groups helps my students support each other as they learn. The groups are seated beside each other throughout the lesson, and they may support each other any way necessary. They can help each other read, write, or create throughout the lesson.


10 minutes

This is the beginning of the lesson and we are seated in the lounge. I attempt to activate my students prior knowledge and really get them thinking about what we have been doing. Then I share the plan for the lesson.

So, I activate my students knowledge by helping them reflect upon what we have been learning about. To make sure everyone is participating I say, "Turn and tell your partner what the problem is that we have been designing a playground to solve." (Children need more places to play outside in their town.) Then I listen (talk to partner) and really assess what they remember. Next, I say, "Will a volunteer share aloud?" This allows everyone to learn from a peer, and I get to engage the class in some discourse. This is a natural way to teach student the habit of reflecting on previous learning, and to get them thinking about the problem.

Now, we remember our problem I say, "Tell your partner how you are going to solve the problem."  (We are going to build a playground. Some students wanted to build many small playgrounds.) In a previous lesson they picked the equipment, surface, and location. I listen to make sure the students are telling about the solution and hopefully they talk about their design. So, I say, "Now, tell your partner what equipment, surface, and location you chose. If you forgot look in your science journal." I listen.

Last I say, "Today we are going to begin to illustrate your design on graph paper. We will make it look like the scale model of our playground, except it will have your things. Then I will share some information about playground layouts."


15 minutes

We now transition to the desks in the center of the room and I distribute graph paper. Then I explain to the class that they are going to draw their equipment on the playground similar to the scale model we created in the previous lesson.

I say, "I am giving you graph paper we will glue in your science journal later. I want you to draw your equipment on your playground. Think about spacing. There should be a good distance from a swing like our playground. Think about how you want to lay out your playground and draw it. This is a work in progress, so you can erase and make changes later. Just begin drawing. I probably would use a pencil, so you can erase." I do let my class write with about anything, because it makes them happy. Although, we need pencils when we are doing a drawing that we will probably change.

 I walk around and observe the students working. I encourage them to look at their partners work and really work together to develop their own model playground. This example shows the student work. I give students two pages to start with, but I have extra on hand if they need more.


10 minutes

Now, we start sharing and talking about the designs. I ask the students to share their design with their partner. Then they share across the table, and last we have a whole group discussion. Basically the students are learning from each other and giving each other ideas to make their playground better. 

So, I say, "Show your partner your design. Partner you need to give them ideas to make it better. Think about if there is enough equipment and if it is spaced out enough." Then I listen.

Next, I say, "Show your work to the group across the table. Give them ideas to improve their playground." Then I walk around and listen.

Last, I say, "Will a volunteer share their design?" I scan it quickly, and project it on the Smart Board. This enables the entire class to see an example.


15 minutes

I read this text about surfaces. Then I read this text about the design and spacing.  We paste this in their science journal, because they will probably need this information as they modify their design.

This is just a time for me to share some data about surfaces and the design of playgrounds. This really is an opportunity for the students to learn more about playgrounds. They have already done some observations, created a design, and now they are learning more. After learning more they can apply the new information in the next section as they evaluate their work.


10 minutes

Now, the students use the new information to evaluate their playground. They can make changes and adjust it based on what we read. I created a checklist (playground evaluation) to help them, so they get the spacing right. Here is an example of the student evaluation rubric.

So, I pass out the evaluation sheets and say, "I want you to use the rubric to evaluate your playground. After you look at your playground and each criteria put a check by the areas you feel you have correct." Then I walk around and monitor the progress of the students. I look to see if the students are accurately evaluating their work. After school I look at each child's design and write comments on the rubric. The next day I ask the students to take a minute or two and think about my comments: teacher evaluation Ateacher evaluation Bteacher evaluation C.