The Why Behind Teaching This
Unit 5 covers standards relating to Earth's Systems. It covers Standard 5-ESS2-1: Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact. Students will be learning the difference between each of the systems, and ways that each of the systems interact to help make Earth what it is today. The other standard covered is Standard 5-ESS2-2: Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.
Modeling will be an important component of this unit. Students will be modeling layers of Earth, the water cycle, land forms, and more. The unit begins with an overview of all the systems, then each system is taught in isolation. As each new system is covered, how it depends on or interacts with the previous systems will be addressed. In addition to the end of unit assessment, there will also be a culminating activity where groups build a model to demonstrate how 2 of the systems interact. Connections to several previously covered standards will also be made throughout this unit.
This specific lesson covers both standard 5-ESS2-1 and standard 5-ESS2-2 by assessing student understanding of the percent of water on Earth, and how all four systems interact to make patterns happen on Earth.
The goal of this lesson is to assess student understanding of the standards.
Students will demonstrate mastery of standard 5-ESS2-2 by correctly answering question 9. Students will demonstrate mastery of standard 5-ESS2-2 by correctly answering 80% of all other questions.
Review with Gaming
I use games in my classroom quite often, especially for reviewing. Gaming is a great strategy because it motivates students to try hard which provides me with an accurate picture of how ready they are for the assessment or to move on in a lesson. I am able to go over areas of weakness again before students take the assessment and reteach if needed. It also allows an opportunity for students to connect things that were covered at the beginning of the unit, to those later in the unit. Most importantly, students enjoy playing games, and are learning while they have fun.
Today, I chose to play the basketball game. In this game, students work in groups of 3 to answer review questions. I show one question from the Unit 5 Review Questions at a time, and they record their answer on a white board. When I ask for answers, each group holds up their board. Any group that gets it correct, automatically gets 100 points. Besides the 100 points, they also get an opportunity to come up and shoot a basket for 500 extra points. I have an over the door basketball hoop that hangs on my front whiteboard. I place a piece of tape on the floor about 6 feet from the basket which marks the spot they must shoot from. They cannot cross the line, if they do, the shot does not count.
I place a copy of the questions on the overhead so that only one question shows at a time. I allow a minute or two for groups to discuss the answer and write their answer on the whiteboard. I then ask to see boards, I go over the question together, and then reward points for those who got it correct. The teams that did get it correct send one person up to shoot a basket. As you can see in the video of girl shooting a basket during the review game, the students really get into this game and they love it when someone makes a basket. Both girls and boys enjoy playing and have an equal chance of making a basket.
I provide each student with a copy of the Unit 5 Assessment which I created. Question 9 directly assesses standard 5-ESS2-2 by requiring students to graph the percentage Earth covered by water. The other questions are all assessing understanding of Earth's Systems, what makes each up, and how they interact which is related to standard 5-ESS2-1. My students are scored on a proficiency scale which includes opportunities to earn an exemplary mark. Questions 10 and 18 are exemplary questions because they require students to not only know what the systems are, but to be able to explain how they interact in specific examples. Number 10 requires them to identify each system in a picture of a rain shadow and describe how the systems interact in that specific example to create the rain shadow. Number 18 requires them to explain how a delta forms, which is actually the interaction of the hydrosphere and geosphere. This question also requires them to demonstrate an understanding of erosion and deposition. Because students have to demonstrate an understanding of so many concepts and be able to explain their reasoning, these are higher level questions which will earn them exemplary.
I did create this assessment based on lessons taught throughout the unit so students who were taught all the lessons will most likely perform better then those who were not taught the standard through the lessons I created. Please review the assessment to make sure all content covered was taught.
I use the Unit 5 Assessment Answer Key to score the assessments.
I scored the assessments and then added the result information to the Data Analysis - Unit 5 Assessment. I use this assessment tool with every end of the unit traditional assessment to help me better see the "big picture". This tool allows me to see areas of strength and areas of weakness very easily. For example, I can tell from the Data Analysis - Unit 5 Assessment blacked out that this particular class is strong in identifying the meaning of each of the systems when given answer choices. This was assessed in questions 1 - 4 and there were no students who missed these questions. We reviewed these so often and put the definitions into very simple terms I think it really stuck with the kids. Other strengths of this class were 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15. Questions 12, 13, 14, and 15 required students to label the steps of the water cycle which is a standard students also learned in detail in 3rd grade, they just went more in depth this year. I believe having background knowledge in this area helped students.
There were also several areas of weakness noted on this assessment that will take additional review and/or reteaching. Questions 5, 8, and 17 were notable weaknesses. Question 8 was a short response question asking students to explain how climate zones compare and what causes the difference. Many students that missed this left out one of the answers to the question such as the examples below. Question 17 required multiple answers which is a question type that has been a consistent area of weakness on assessments throughout the year. Students may select 2 or 3 but not all of the correct answers.
Both of the exemplary questions were areas of weakness. The students in my class struggle with the format of these types of questions because they require a complete and accurate answer with a detailed explanation with it. If students were able to answer it, but not explain it in detail they got it correct meaning they earned a proficient mark. For example, many students answered question 18 by saying that erosion causes the land to build up to form a delta. This is an accurate answer and students are able to demonstrate an understanding of what erosion is, however their explanation was missing some key points. To get exemplary, students would have to describe how wind, water, or plants cause weathering to rock. The weathered rock is known as supplements which are then carried down stream through erosion by water. Students would also need to describe the how the process of deposition build up new land. An example of an incomplete answer that earned a proficient instead of exemplary is below.