Reflection: Pacing Field Journals: Descriptive Writing and Scientific Drawing - Section 2: Practice


If you are at all like me, this might end up becoming a two day lesson.  I strongly recommend capturing some spiders/insects or other creepy critters and keeping them in small habitats/containers around the room for a week or two prior to this lesson.  Students have absolutely loved checking in on these creatures and have even begun to bring some of their own into class.  Additionally, I have several sets of preserved spiders and other yucky things that I bought for the students to see (mostly for shock value but a lot of the kids are just fascinated with them).  All this being said, the spiders, living and preserved, were a popular item of choice for the students.

While initially I tried to transition from the scientific drawings to the scent containers, the majority of the students kept asking for more time to study and draw their object/organism.  Rather than rush them to transition their thinking before they were ready, I elected to give them more time and focus on improving the quality of the information they included in their journal entries.  While most were pretty descriptive of their focus object, hardly any students logged questions or "I wonder" statements until I prompted them to do so.  Students still need to develop the habit of documenting their thoughts, as those are the most important pieces of information!

I particularly like how this student began to include guesses about what type of spider he was looking at and why it was moving the way it was while supporting his inferences with observations.  Initially he was just making statements such as "I think it is looking for food" or "I think it is a ground spider" but once he added in why he thought those things he had a much more meaningful entry.

The tadpole example was a great example of scale.  When you notice the first drawing at the top of the paper, it looks as though the tadpole took up the entire container it is in which is not the case.  After a brief discussion with the student, she redrew and used her fingers to measure the approximate size of the tadpole to be more accurate.  

If I did not expand the time frame, I would not have gotten to have the conversations that led to these outcomes.

  Pacing: Adapting for Students
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Field Journals: Descriptive Writing and Scientific Drawing

Unit 3: Field Journals
Lesson 2 of 5

Objective: SWBAT create detailed and descriptive writings and drawings about a focus object.

Big Idea: Students practice their ability to write descriptively and create detailed scientific drawings.

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15 teachers like this lesson
Science, journals
  45 minutes
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