Reflection: Gradual Release Physical Changes Versus Chemical Changes - Section 4: Explore


Changing the Design of the Lesson: 

My original plan for this lesson was to set up stations for the students to rotate through after completing the foldable together.  One thing that enjoy about teaching science so much is circulating to observe student led inquiry learning.  I enjoy seeing their reactions, listening to their conversations, and seeing them develop their own understanding through the hands on experiences I provide them.  With activities such as the ones planned for these rotations, students get so excited that it becomes more about the fun behind it, and less about the content that I want them to practice applying.  There has to be a balance because learning the content should always be the focus.  

When setting up the stations, I began envisioning how the rotations might go and if the students would truly take the time to complete the investigation sheet with fidelity.  My thoughts led me to no, I think they would love doing the activities, but I don't think they would get what I want from them.   I decided to change the way this lesson went at the last minute.  I decided to lead the groups through each activity so that I was directing their attention to identifying the properties first.  Then I would provide them with the materials and let the groups complete the activity together, and I would circulate to listen to conversations to ensure they stayed focused.  This approach, allowed me to lead the direction and focus of the lesson, while still letting the students have that science discovery and science talk with each other.  

Reflection on How the Lesson Went: 

The flow of the lesson went well.  I kept the students focused on the activity we were doing at that time.  I liked being able to get around to each table group quickly to listen to conversation and could make sure all students were participating.  I provided each group with 2 lava lamps and 2 glue balls so I made sure each student would get at least one item to take home.  If they rotated through stations, they would just make one of each and not everyone would get an item to keep.  Looking back on all of these positives from the lesson led me to think that this was a good change in format.  It wasn't until I went back and checked investigation sheets that I realized there were still students who got off task and did not focus on the important information from the lesson.  You can see in the photos of the incomplete lab sheet 1 and incomplete lab sheet 2 that this student completed the properties before and after which is what I made sure when guiding the lesson, but then did not indicate whether the change that occurred was physical or chemical and why.  This was the discussion that was taking place in the groups after completing the activity.  They discussed each one together and decided if it was a physical or chemical change and what evidence they had to support it.  The goal of the lesson was for this connection to be made and demonstrated through the investigation.  There were not many incomplete lab sheets like this one, but to even see a few was disappointing.  Because these students did not demonstrate success through the investigation sheet, I had them write out an explanation of each rotation activity, what change they observed, if it was a physical or chemical change, and what evidence they had to support it.  This was a homework assignment they had to complete and submit to me by the end of the week.   

  Gradual Release: Challenges with hands on investigations
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Physical Changes Versus Chemical Changes

Unit 2: Matter and Its Interactions
Lesson 6 of 10

Objective: SWBAT determine if changes in matter have created something new or not.

Big Idea: Students make glue balls, lava lamps, origami dogs, and many more exciting things to help them differentiate between physical and chemical changes.

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