Reflection: Staircase of Complexity Exploding Popcorn: Exploring How Internal Temperature Affects Mass and Volume (Part 2/2) - Section 2: Extend


I refer to this lab as "guided inquiry" because I provide students with some of the necessary components to successfully carry out the investigation. In this lab, I provide students with the question, procedure, materials list, and data tables. Because this lab has a very specific and complex procedure that needs to be followed for safety and success, I provide students with the procedure, materials list and data tables rather than having them write/create their own.

The science process of planning and carrying out investigations requires many competencies, and it is important to provide opportunities for practice. In different investigations, I rotate these opportunities as a way for students to practice each component multiple times. For example, in this lab, I provide students with the procedure rather than having them write their own because the procedure is specific and complex. Students have more success in terms of safety and collecting valid data when I provide the procedure. Additionally, there is a Common Core literacy connection here:

Students will follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks (RST.6-8.3).

By using this guided inquiry strategy, students gradually build practice skills, and, hopefully, by the end of the year, students are able to plan and carry out investigations with a decreasing level of guidance.

Naturally, an extension to this lab and an opportunity for science practice could be to ask students to complete more of these investigational components themselves. Advanced students may write their own procedures or create their own data tables as a way of making the task more challenging.

  Extensions to the Investigation
  Staircase of Complexity: Extensions to the Investigation
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Exploding Popcorn: Exploring How Internal Temperature Affects Mass and Volume (Part 2/2)

Unit 6: Properties of Matter
Lesson 4 of 14

Objective: SWBAT measure changes in mass and volume of a popcorn kernel.

Big Idea: Matter is all around us and is always changing. By investigating how popcorn changes when it is popped, students learn about mass and volume.

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8 teachers like this lesson
Science, Properties of Matter, Matter and its Properties, PACER, Guided Inquiry, matter
  100 minutes
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