Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Experiment: Does the height of a ramp affect the distance a toy car travels? - Section 3: Guided Practice


Errors in completion of foldable: 

After completing experiments, I do not check notebooks to make sure students have completed data charts accurately.  I try to catch mistakes as I rotate around during exploration but I am usually focused on how they are measuring, if they are following the procedure correctly, and if everyone is participating.  I do not always look at their notebooks to see errors in recording data.  While reviewing graphs the following day, I noticed that about 3/4 of the students in the class made some kind of error in their foldable for this experiment.  About 1/2 of the students did not record a unit of measure next to their data (this is evident in one of the foldable pictures chosen as a resource), and at least 1/2 of the students did not write their conclusion after we discussed it following the experiment yesterday.  I also noticed that a couple of students never filled in the blank left for their hypothesis which should have been done before ever beginning the experiment.  

Another error I noticed was with graphing.  The majority of graphs were correct, but I noticed that some graphed their data incorrectly, especially those who used the computer to graph.  The photo used in the guided practice section is evidence of this.  It is very easy for me to see if their graph data is wrong, especially for this experiment because every group found that the distance increased as the ramp height increased.  The graph in the photo did not reflect this.  I actually chose this as the graph to share with the class and asked them if they could identify the error.  It took a lot of discussion before they noticed the data was wrong.  This tells me that they are not reflecting on the work they are doing.  

Adjustments to Practice Moving Forward: 

I explain to students that the purpose of us completing these experiments together and making them so routine and uniform is to build their confidence in creating and completing them independently.  I need to see evidence that they are taking the time to add these little details.  Eventually they will be planning entire experiments start to finish on their own and this early stage of experimenting is to help train them on how to do it properly.  

Moving forward, I have decided that I will check each notebook for a completed hypothesis prior to providing materials.  The whole purpose of conducting the experiment is to test if your hypothesis was supported or not so this is very important.  This will only take a couple of extra seconds as I rotate to check notebooks I will choose one person to go get their materials for the experiment.  I will also be focusing more on checking that all students have the unit of measure noted in their data charts while conducting the experiments.  I have also created a experiment self-assessment rubric that I will pass out following each experiment and send home for students to complete for homework as they complete their graph.  I will collect these the following day while I review graphs.  I think this self reflection will help students pay closer attention to the details in the process that are currently being overlooked.   


  Adjustments to Practice: Student Expectations On Foldable
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Experiment: Does the height of a ramp affect the distance a toy car travels?

Unit 1: Scientists at Work
Lesson 10 of 16

Objective: SWBAT work through the steps of the scientific method to test how the height of a ramp affects the distance a toy car travels.

Big Idea: Students test their hypothesis to find out if increasing the height of a ramp will cause a toy car to travel farther.

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