The Why Behind Teaching This
Unit 7 covers standard 5-ESS3-1: Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment. In this unit students research how science is related to various professions. They also research ways to conserve energy and ways that communities work together to keep their environment clean.
Each lesson in this unit is directly linked to the standard. Being the first lesson in this unit, this lesson lays the foundation for background knowledge for students to refer back to. The focus of the lesson is for students to be able to identify how science is used in various careers. In future lessons when students are considering if technology helps or harms the Earth, they will have knowledge about how some professions, such as doctors, use technology. When considering how the Earth has changed over the years, they will have careers to refer back to such as construction workers or semi drivers.
The goal of this lesson is for students to demonstrate an understanding that all professions use math and science in some way.
Students will demonstrate success on this goal by creating a PowerPoint that shares information about how math and science are used in various careers.
Preparing For The Lesson:
Create A List of Professions
I provide each group with a whiteboard and marker and ask them to create a list of ten professions. I encourage them to include the profession they would like to be when they grow up but I know some students don't know yet what they want to be. As they create a list, I circulate to listen to conversations and encourage them to be more specific if profession is too general. For example, a couple of students put "scientist," I asked them to list a specific type of scientist such as an astronomer, biologist, zoologist, etc. I explained what each was so they could list one that interests them.
This is one example of a group's whiteboard
Students will be using these lists later in the lesson to create a PowerPoint. I start the lesson with them creating the lists so that they know the professions they are going to be using and can refer to it as I go through my list in the guided practice portion of the lesson. By having their lists created, students are able to make connections to things I mention as I model the activity.
My List of Professions
I have 2 professions that I wanted to be growing up (before I decided on an educator) written on a piece of chart paper. I explain to the students: Every profession you may choose to be in the future uses math and science in some way. When I was growing up I wanted to be a marine biologist or a pediatrician. Let's think about how each of these professions uses math and science. I have them do both math and science because these are the two subjects I teach. You can easily just make the focus science or technology.
Students begin giving me suggestions on how a marine biologist uses math. One student says a marine biologist has to know the depth of water they are diving to. Another student says they have to make measurements for how much their gear weighs, how much water fish need in the tank if they catch any for study, how much oxygen they will need for their dive, etc. Another student said they probably make graphs or charts to display evidence like how many fish they see in certain reefs.
I was surprised they came up with so many examples, they thought of things I had not even considered. We then move on to math for a pediatrician. Students begin with measurements such as weight and height and being able to graph these. Another student adds that they also have to know how much medicine to prescribe based on weight. Pediatricians also have to be able to maintain a schedule which is math because of time and elapsed time.
After I record their ideas for math, we go back to marine biologist to add in ways science is used in this profession. I did math first for both so they could see some similarities and differences. This is a better strategy then doing math and science for the marine biologist and then moving onto the pediatrician. If you noticed, the first things that students mentioned for math for the pediatrician were measurements and graphs which were both mentioned for the marine biologist as well.
For science students tell me that the marine biologists have to know what species living in the water are. They have to understand different ecosystems and food webs. Students also tell me that the marine biologists usually perform tests or make observations of the animals which are processes used in science.
For the pediatrician, students tell me that they have to understand how the body systems work in case a patient comes in with a broken bone, infection, or disease. I was surprised that students struggled with coming up with ways a pediatrician uses science. The rest took some guidance from me during our discussion. With some guidance, they came up with finding heart rate (which is math and science), that some develop new technology to help children or use new technology as part of studies. Pediatricians also have to understand how sound reacts to the ear drum normally and how pupils react to light during their exams.
Creating a PowerPoint
I provide each group with a copy of the Planning Sheet for Profession PowerPoint and a laptop. Groups use the list they created on their whiteboards at the beginning of the lesson to fill in the column under "professions" and then begin researching. They spend the next 30 minutes researching ideas for how each profession uses math and science and creating their PowerPoint. Some professions they already know and do not need to research, but others that they may not have ideas for, they use the laptop to look it up.
Sharing The PowerPoints
It is important to allow for time at the end of the lesson for groups to present their PowerPoint. After putting in all that hard work and being creative with technology, they do not want me to be the only person to see it. I allow groups to go up, one at a time and present their PowerPoint to the class.
The group that created the 10 Interesting Careers PowerPoint did not finish and only listed one way each uses math and science. They did explain each career which is something that not every group included.
The group that created the All of our Careers PowerPoint also only included one example for each career. They did not explain the careers but most of theirs are common like teacher and chef. The did have more then one example on a few slides but not most.
The group that created the How Science and Math Have to do With Careers PowerPoint did include two ways most professions use math and science but they were not specific in any of their descriptions. For example, they say that swimmers use math and science to time themselves and to hold their breath. Both of these relate to math and science but they don't describe how. They should have included that timing themselves requires a good understanding of seconds and minutes, they also try to use these times to calculate and improve their speed which is science. They work on holding their breath and breathing systematically to improve their speed. This requires training their lungs which is science related, and they have to develop a pattern for breathing with certain strokes which is math.
Connecting to the Standard
I provide each student with a sticky note to use as an exit ticket. I tell students that the standard we are working on this unit is "How humans impact Earth". Their task is to write one way that this activity relates to the standard? I want to see what connections they can make on their own. As they are handed in to me I read over them and select the following ones to read:
This is the first lesson in the unit and the purpose is to get them thinking about how many different careers there are, all of them have a huge impact on how Earth has changed over the years and help pave the way for where it will be in the future. This activity gives them some ideas to refer back to when we discuss the impact of technology on Earth, how the land has changed over the years, and ways we can conserve resources in the future.
Although most students were able to make the connection between this activity and the standard, there were a few exit tickets that students were not able to make that connection. Below are two examples of answers that did not make a clear connection. These are students that I will have to ask to repeat the standard each day as we discuss how the activity is connected.