As with most my units, I work to design an assessment that helps the students better explain the things they have learned. I introduce the lesson and talk to the students about things we learned when we studied leaves. To keep the Assessment authentic, I don't do a review, more of a general discussion. This Assessment will give us something we can use to share our learning with others, always important to Kindergarteners.
With this model, the student will use a rubbing to demonstrate the things that comprise different elements of a leaf. This process could be adjusted to represent other types of nature as well. I’ve included the link to the Google Draw sheet to make it easier for you to adjust to your unique needs.
The students came into the class after recess. I have them sit down on their carpet squares. I ask them to think about the leaves we studied. “There were many different elements that make up a leaf. Take a minute and share two elements of a leaf with your partner. ” I purposely avoid a group sharing of all elements because my goal with this summative assessment is to see how they combine these elements on their own. “We re going to use a different technique- rubbing- to create a model to show these different parts of a leaf.” I introduce this idea both to help them access the information that different elements can combine to create a leaf and collaborate with peers to share their knowledge and practice valuable communication skills. For this activity, it's important to take a minute to demonstrate how to properly rub an image on a paper.
I show them the Assessment paper with a picture of a rubbing space, with a space to label the four key leaf parts. I chose rubbing to create the leaf image for three reasons. First, a rubbing-as opposed to a drawing- allows the structure to emerge on it's own rather than be created by the students. Second, it adds variety. Since I already had them draw a leaf, this is something different. Last, it's just plain fun to rub things! Any time we can do something enjoyable in the name of Science, I'm all for it. Though there are many components of a leaf, four elements will provide me with a good sampling of those common in the US. I’ve attached a link to the Google Draw that I used to create the worksheet so you can adjust it to anything that is a part of your environment.
A performance base assessment like this is an ideal way to get an authentic view of a student's knowledge. The answer key provides an easy way for the teacher and/or the student to assess the performance. This kind of mastery model helps students learn/relearn the material. The resulting product and related explanation act as an ideal way to illustrate their processing of our leaf composition lessons..and have a good time doing it!
“We get be botanists again and look at the different parts of a leaf.”
• First, think about the leaves we observed. Choose one from our collection.
• Next, put the leaf under your paper and carefully rub it with a crayon to create an image.
• Then, label your leaf model with the parts listed in the box at the bottom of the page.
• Last, explain to a partner why you made these choices.
Filling in a blank would be an easy step, so I create depth (rigor) to the summative assessment by adding the explanation step. To be successful with no prompting from me, I expect to hear comments like how a combination of selected elements would create a familiar leaf.
I have them go back to their tables and pass out the worksheet. “You’ll use this worksheet to show the elements of a leaf. Use the information you got from our lessons to remember how these elements work together to create the leaf.” As they make their choices, collect the materials, and begin to rubbing, I mingle around the class and check in with the students about their choices. I'm watching for students to go beyond a 'fill in the blank' answer. The attached examples showed students who were able not only to correctly label the leaf parts but use the new (and pretty scientific!) vocabulary correctly. This application provides both valuable context and the opportunity to raise vocabulary, a skill that supports a variety of cognitive growth. Win-win!