Reflection: Measurement: Mass - Section 5: Evaluate


A student need that arises with the concept of mass is that students build conceptual understanding at varying rates. Sometimes, we only find out that students are all over the map with regard to understanding a concept once we assess them. Since best practice is to use assessment to drive instruction, as teachers, we need to prepare ourselves for the moment when the assessment informs us that students have not learned what we had intended for them to learn. The first time around, my students ranged from Advanced Proficiency all the way to Developing Proficiency. Here are the thoughts that run through my mind when I look at the scores:

1) Why didn't they pay attention better?

2) Many students get it. We should move on, so they aren't bored.

3) What did I do wrong?

4) I tried everything.

5) I'm too tired and don't have enough time to go back and reteach.

6) I will cover this topic again later.

7) The concept of________________ is just too hard, to abstract, not developmentally appropriate for my students.

8) I can move on because this concept isn't that important.

9) If the students had just done their homework, they would get it.

10) If I email home, maybe their adults at home can teach them. Everyone has a retired engineer/physicist/chemist/neurosurgeon grandpa in Arizona just waiting to help, right?

The concept of mass is one of these concepts that is deceptive. It seems easy, but it is not. Students need to make many intellectual leaps in order to get it. After teaching the concept for so many years, I expect the first time through the concept to be pretty inconsistent in terms of learning outcomes. Rather than seeing this as a failure, help your students respond to the results of the assessment as an opportunity. This is an excellent time to talk to students about a fixed versus growth mindset and how assessments provide valuable and tiny pieces of a giant puzzle called scientific understanding. For a strategy to help leverage the understanding of those students are advanced to help students who are not there yet, visit this lesson:Mastery Learning in Science: Students as Teachers.

  Using Assessment to Drive Instruction
  Using Assessment to Drive Instruction
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Measurement: Mass

Unit 4: Measuring Matter
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: SWBAT quantify matter by measuring the mass of objects using metric units and a triple beam balance.

Big Idea: The concept of mass is fundamental to identifying and describing matter. Students building a beginning understanding of mass by exploring the concept through words, diagrams and measurements.

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