This lesson is the last of a 3-day series. At this point, students will have carried out their investigations (planned during Day 1 and performed during Day 2) and collecting data. Today, students will be analyzing their data to make conclusions and answer their focus question. Through today's analysis of data and formation of conclusions, students are engaged in SEP 6 - Constructing Explanations, SEP 7 - Engaging in Argument from Evidence, and SEP 8 - Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.
Through their investigation, students will be working on developing their understanding of Crosscutting Concept XC-EM-HS-2: Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system. Students are also building their ability to meet Performance Expectation HS-PS3-1: Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known.
I begin class by asking how my students felt about their investigations:
As we discuss, I am looking for students to acknowledge that creating a "good" investigation is difficult and that investigations often yield inconclusive results--and that's okay! Many students might need reassurance that the goal here is process over results.
I handout Chemistry - Designing an Investigation Endo Exo analysis, one to each group. Students are directed to transfer all information to this final document, including neat data tables, and then to reflect on their investigation. Does the data yield to a firm conclusion? What could be done better next time?
Most groups will discover as they discuss their results that there is not conclusive evidence to answer their research question. As students are discussing their results and drawing conclusions, I move around the room, checking in with each group and asking questions that will help them arrive at the conclusion that more trials would need to be done and additional data collected before making firm conclusions.
I am most proud of my students' ability to articulate a potential follow-up investigation. This demonstrates critical thinking ability and revising skills that are necessary for moving forward in science.
Once students have had enough time to analyze their data, I want us to discuss our investigations and results. I direct students to come up with a two-three sentence description of their investigation: what did you want to find out, what data did you collect, and what did the data tell you. I also tell each group to choose a spokesperson who will share that information with the class. I set the timer and tell students that they have 2 minutes for preparation.
After 2 minutes, we do a quick whip-around the room, sharing a quick synopsis of what students did. I allow each group no more than about a minute--this should really just be a time to feel a sense of accomplishment that everybody participated in the planning and carrying out of an investigation. The overall shared conclusion should be that more data would be needed in order to make a firm conclusion about any of the research questions.