I post the list of questions from the day before. (I have typed them up and consolidated the list by combining similar questions.) We have a list of about 20 questions. I say to students, "these are all good questions. I typed up the questions that you handed in yesterday. I tried to combine the ones that are similar. Now I want you to help me pick the 5 best questions to ask the adults around us. We will then go out and ask people the same questions and then come back and share our answers."
I point out the questions on the board, and read through them once. I ask for any questions about what the questions might mean. I ask students to do a thumbs up for their 3 favorite questions. I record tally marks for the votes for each question. We look at the results and circle the 5 highest ranking questions.
Because I have the questions on my computer screen, I quickly delete the unchosen questions and then print out 6 copies of the questions. I say to students, "today you will take the 5 questions and go to visit the person whose name you draw. They are expecting your visit. You will ask them the 5 questions and record their answers. I will hand out cards. You will find the people with the same number as you and form a group on the rug so we can draw names." I hand out number cards 1 - 6 to form the 6 interview teams. I bring clipboards, the questions and pencils to the rug. I also have a bag with the names of the principal, school secretary, school nurse, librarian, PE teacher and custodian.
"I would like the person whose name starts with the letter closest to the end of the alphabet to come up and draw a name. Once you have the name, would you pick up a clipboard, question list, and pencil and return to your group." We quickly gather our materials and are ready to go out to interview building personnel.
I allow students to go out on their own to the person they are interviewing. I have asked each individual in advance and told them when students would be arriving. I remind students to walk quietly in the hall and to return to the room when they are done.
Students are gone for about 5 minutes.
When they return I collect the questions and get ready to share the information with the group.
Students have generated a list of problems, chosen a problem, generated questions about that problem and now gathered data (answers to the questions) from several sources. Now we need to analyze that data before students can generate solutions to the problem.
I begin today by holding up all of the answer papers that students collected. I say, "You have collected some great answers to our question about the problem of ____ (this will depend on the problem chose). Now we need to figure out what to do with all these answers. Do you have any idea what we might do?"
I am hoping that students may suggest tallying the data, graphing the data, grouping the data by like categories, etc. (I don't expect them to use the word data at this point.) I list the ideas on the board. I ask, "which of these might help us know what people think is the problem and what they would like to change?" I let students share their thoughts. I want them to not only pick an idea from the board, but also defend their choice. Being able to express ideas in science and defend them is an important part of the NGSS.The Graph
Once students have spoken about the choices, we try to come to an agreement about what we might try. I will encourage children to think mathematically about how we might express the data, and make it easier to think about than just 40 sheets of paper.
Once we agree to tally the responses in some way, I break the class into groups of 3. I say, "I am going to give each group some of the papers. I am going to ask you to look through your papers for similar answers. Give that answer a name and record it on your paper. So if several people talk about cars speeding through the parking lot I would put those all together, write speeding and then tally how many people said that. See if you can find 3 or 4 things that come up more than once on the papers and record those. For things that only come up once, just circle them on the original paper, but don't add them to the list." I check for understanding and ask several students to repeat the directions for clarity. I give students about 15 minutes to categorize their answers. I circulate around helping groups who may be struggling to find any common themes.
After the 15 minutes I say," I am going to take your tally sheets and read the answers you have put together. If you hear something that is on one or more of your papers, but you didn't already record it, I want you to raise your hand and we will add it on. If you already have that category, we will combine them at the end."
We go through the process of sharing the data and looking at what we have found out about our problem, especially what others think about this problem and possible kid friendly science solutions.
I ask students to end today by thinking about our problem and all of the types of comments we have. I say, "would anyone like to comment on all that we have learned about ___________? Do you have some final thoughts about this problem and how kids might use science to solve it?"
I let students share their ideas and tell them that tomorrow we will design our scientific solutions to the problem we have studied.