Reflection: Cycles of Inquiry Mystery Powders Day 3 - Section 4: What Have You Learned?


The following day, after all was investigated, observed, collaborated and written about, I wanted to conclude the whole experience with gathering them together to observe all of their testing charts. I am so glad I took time to do this! This collaborative opportunity helped students understand that people had different results, but that we could come up with the same conclusion. That the Mystery Powder indeed was cornstarch and baking soda. One student shared, "I know for a fact that part of it is cornstarch" and elaborated on the color of the cornstarch on the sheets. Everyone agreed on the cornstarch, but some had to be swayed to understand that there was baking soda instead of any salts, sugar or borax because of the texture. The iodine was the liquid that clearly proved the presence of cornstarch. This collaboration was so essential to closure. If I had just stopped with the writing, then they would not have had the chance to experience what scientists experience when they are investigating. I wanted them to experience all of their minds working together. I think they really enjoyed their chance to look at everyone's testing sheets.They were certainly excited about knowing the truth about the Mystery Powder!

Lastly, I gave them a chance to edit and check their responses on their homework sheet from the day before, but did not allow them to change their answers to any of the questions. I explained that this was a reflection of their work and that scientists disagree. As long as they could defend their reasons with their observations, it was fine. This allowed them to take a fresh look at their writing and be able to edit their work.

  Cycles of Inquiry: The Next Day
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Mystery Powders Day 3

Unit 1: Thinking, Writing, and Observing Like a Scientist
Lesson 7 of 10

Objective: SWBAT determine the contents of the mystery powder using their observations and testing chart.

Big Idea: Students test the "Mystery Powder" by dropping various liquids and then determine what's in it using their data and comparison skills.

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25 teachers like this lesson
Science, drawing conclusions, Analyze and Interpret Data, collaborative discussion, observations
  50 minutes
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