I ask the class to prepare for some real science skill practice today. I explain that we are going to go over the skill of observation and practice at the same time following directions. We are going to work together today to practice these needed science skills.
To help get their brains warmed up, I ask them to help me understand what it means to observe? What is it? Why do we do it? These questions we will discuss as a whole group and come to consensus on what it means and how we observe. One thing I want to make sure to introduce at this time is that observation includes all of our senses. We need to use sight, sound, taste, touch, and hearing when we take part in science lessons. I then ask if they think that, in every science lesson, we will use all five. This usually stumps them a bit and finally someone realizes that taste and maybe others might not be safe or good to do.
Now that they have a basic understanding of how we will be using the skill of observation, we are in need of some practice time. I start by placing students in teams of three. I mix them up randomly by drawing names from popsicle sticks. I then explain the expectations for the activity.
First, they will be assigned to an area of the school. Each member of the team will take with them a notebook and a pencil. When the team goes to their area they will observe for two minutes everything that is happening within that part of the building. They will need to write their observations down in their notebooks. I remind them that this is where they will need to use as many senses as allowed. They are not allowed to talk and visit while observing. This is science and in order to stay in good standing for further activities they need to show respect and responsibility.
Once they have observed for two minutes, and have written their notes they will come directly back to class. When all teams are back they will have a few minutes to share their observations within their groups. Each team will then be given three random objects. They will be in charge of trying to figure out how these objects might be used within the area of the school they visited. This is where they will need to share notes and creativity to determine how the objects might work.
The last part of the lesson is sharing the teams results. Each team will come to the front of the classroom with their objects and ideas. They will share what they observed and how the object could fit with their observation. As they present, I do a quick check of each notebook to see that students practiced observing and writing notes during the activity.