Connection to The Next Generation Science Standards
In this investigation, students complete the work that will lead them to explore the Disciplinary Core Idea of Earth's Place in the Universe: The Universe and its Stars - that the sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it's closer, and stars range greatly in their distance from Earth. (5-ESS1-1); Earth and the Solar System - that the orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year. (5-ESS1-2); Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions - that the gravitational force of Earth acting on an object near Earth's surface pulls that object towards the planet's center. (5-PS2-1) and the Crosscutting Concept of Patterns - Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort, classify, communicate and analyze simple rates of change for natural phenomena. (5-ESS1-1); Scale, Proportion, and Quantity - Natural objects exist from the very small to the immensely large (5-ESS1-1); and Cause and Effect - Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain change (5-PS2-1).
The Preparation Time for This Investigation is approximately 15 minutes.
Plaid Pete is Finding Earth’s Place in the Universe - Unit Review Cards (Copy on card stock, laminate, and cut out)
One student whiteboard, marker and eraser for each team
Rallying My Students for Assessment
I tell my students that two days from now will be a big day - they will get to show all they have learned about Earth's Place in the Universe!
I explain that this assessment will be a bit different from the other assessments. Although they will have a vocabulary section and a matching section as they have had before, the other two sections will require them to analyze data and to support an argument with evidence. I tell them, "In order to help you prepare for this kind of an assessment, I have constructed a practice activity that I believe will do this. It will be important for each member of the team to actively participate."
I ask each team leader to get a one whiteboard, a marker, and an eraser for their team, and get ready for a team challenge!
I explain to my teams that I have prepared some "mini-scenarios" on cards. These scenarios describe a serious misunderstanding that Plaid Pete has about Earth in Space. Their job as a team is to identify the incorrect information, then make a claim about the correct information and support it with evidence from their investigations.
I tell them, "You will need to work together - that means everyone in the team needs to participate. It also means that you will need to both present your argument as a team, and then you will have to defend it as well. Your peers will decide if you have adequately supported your argument. If you have not adequately supported it, then you will have to go back to the whiteboard."
I fan out the Plaid Pete is Finding Earth’s Place in the Universe - Unit Review Cards, place them face down, and ask each team leader to pick one. Teams then begin to read their cards and identify the incorrect information. I see notebooks out and students thumbing through them, looking for their evidence.
Teams begin working. As I move around, I see one of my teams is having a difficult time knowing where to begin. In this Video Clip 1, I assist these students in figuring out how to attack this task. This will be important, because this is exactly what they will have to do on the assessment. When I give the assessment, I will also be sure to say, "Remember how you worked to identify the incorrect statements on the mini-scenarios, and then to state your claims and evidence. Use what your learned to complete this assessment." This will give these students who are struggling an "anchor" to help them be successful.
When my teams signal that they are ready to present, we begin. The first team presents - giving a clearly written claim and supporting points, as seen in this Video Clip 2
And the earlier team that struggled was able to do a terrific job presenting their claims and evidence, as seen in Video Clip 3.
I tell my teams, "Wow - you have done a terrific job! I will take a picture of each of your whiteboards and copy them to to a Word Document to create a study guide for you while you are at lunch. Let's play a quick round of Pepper with our vocabulary words!"
Here are the Science Test Review Notes that I created with the whiteboard pictures..
My students love this game! When we have finished critiquing arguments - we play a game of Pepper to practice the vocabulary for this unit. It is much like the game of Pepper that you play to practice hitting a ball. Using the Plaid Pete is Finding Earth's Place in the Universe Word Wall Cards - Lesson 4 and the Plaid Pete is Finding Earth's Place in the Universe Word Wall Cards - Lesson 8. I call out a definition of one of our vocabulary words, pull a popsicle stick from a cup, and call on that student to give the answer. If they don't quickly respond, then they have to sit down. The last word is a real stumper, as seen in this Video Clip. We have fun though - and then it is time to go to lunch. As long as they study - they will be ready for the test.
I have taken a picture of each of the whiteboards with the claims and arguments, emailed them to myself, and then pasted them on a word document. I print out a copy for my students to use as a study guide. They will study these, along with their word cards. I make sure that they write "Study for Science Test" on their planners for the next two evenings and have their parents initial it. Those who don't get an invitation to study at recess.
I want to be sure they are adequately prepared!