Reflection: Student Communication Fishy Mixture Water Quality Inquiry Lab (Part 1/4) - Section 4: Explore


This portion of the lesson can determine how the entire experience will go for students. It is very important to establish group norms and expectations from the beginning of this collaborative work. I find the investment of time for establishing jobs within the group at this point very rewarding, so that all students are able to participate on some level. I facilitate this process as a concrete and organized part of the process by requiring groups to have a planning meeting and write out what each student is responsible for.

This portion of the lesson needs to be framed within the idea of "Exploration". The activities can drag on if the spirit of inquiry wanes. I keep this spirit alive through enthusiastic conferencing with groups and inserting nuggets of engagement to get them thinking, like, "What would happen if you swam in the creek?" Specific time objectives also help to keep the pacing of the lesson. For example, I use a timer for both explorations to keep the pacing of the lesson moving. For example, groups have 10 minutes to decide on jobs, 20 minutes to read or access resources; 10 minutes to complete organizer; and 15 minutes to share and edit organizer. The amount that you structure these activities for your students depends on your classroom, but I have found that some level of structure keeps the lesson pacing tighter and gives you more control over working with groups that need more guidance.

  Establishing Norms & Expectations
  Student Communication: Establishing Norms & Expectations
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Fishy Mixture Water Quality Inquiry Lab (Part 1/4)

Unit 7: Physical and Chemical Changes
Lesson 1 of 7

Objective: SWBAT identify, classify and separate different types of mixtures based on physical and chemical properties of matter.

Big Idea: Students explore how complicated mixtures are all around us, affecting us in ways we rarely think about. While some mixtures help us, they may harm the environment.

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