Advanced Preparation: I will lay out all of the materials that I have used from the unit. IF students don't see something they need, they can ask if it is available in the classroom.
"Today you will be asked to build a device that uses light to solve the problem of communicating over a distance. In this case, you will work with a partner. One of you will stand at one end of the gym and the other will stand at the other end. One of you will be the signaler and the other will be the receiver. You will have to get your partner to walk toward you and then away from you by using your device. You can not use words to signal them. It must be down with light."
"I want you to take out your science notebook and set it up for today's entry. Your focus is 'Sound Assessment.' Once you have your notebook set up, you and your partner can look at all of the materials that are available. However, you may not take any yet. You must then go back to your science notebooks and make a sketch of what you want to build. You must also make a list of materials that you will need. You can go back to the supply table as many times as you want but you can't take any supplies until you have completed your sketch and have a list of materials. If you don't see a material that you absolutely need, let me know. If I have it in the room, you can use it."
I want the students to use sketches for several reasons. First of all, it will back up their plan and demonstrate their thinking and plan If the plan fails in application but would have worked in theory, this would allow me to assess their thinking differently. It also makes them plan before they just start taking a plethora of supplies.
Once the students check in with me, I allow them to build. If they need to make a change with their design, I ask them to change it in their notebook before they take the new materials. As students are working, I will circulate to make sure that students are progressing with the goal of creating a device.
I am looking for the students to use any of the ideas/concepts from the lessons in the unit. A student might use a light and a mirror to reflect signals to a partner. They might use an opaque object and use it to create interruptions with the light beam. These "flashes" could be used as signals too.
I will use an iPad for this part of the lesson. This way I can capture their thinking on video (Test 1 & Test 2), their test of their device, and use their science notebook to formulate a score for the assessment. The two video samples capture a team of two both testing their device.
"We are now going to bring our devices to the gym. Once we are there, I will call up one team at a time. I will ask you to explain what you built and how you envision it working (I will be filming this). Then you will try out your device."