Reflection: Student Led Inquiry Condensation: Gas to a Liquid (Part 1) - Section 3: Conduct Experiment


The practices of the NGSS can be overwhelming for educators who are adjusting their teaching methodologies.  Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (SP3) doesn't mean that your classroom has to test every single question that students devise.  Up until now cookie-cutter lessons have primarily guided students to predetermined outcomes, removing their ideas and taking away their voices.  NGSS-based lessons, especially when you allow your students to develop investigations with appropriate guidance by grade level, have students raise questions and begin to plan their own course of learning.  Teachers can't just say, okay--here is your question--GO!  Your students will get frustrated, especially younger ones, and time on learning will not be maximized.  Providing structure and guidance is key.  Their questions then can be used as a formative assessment at the conclusion of the lesson(s).  In that, they can go back to their questions and answer them using evidence recorded in their notebooks from each experiment/demonstration (SP7).

In this lesson, I start with a predetermined demonstration with the inverted cup demonstration and then ask students to design an experimented modeled after that one to test a new question.  That simple guidance was enough to maintain student confidence and promote learning.  In addition, I was sure to remind students that they have other resources in their notebooks that they can refer to.  Simply mentioning the fertilizer example was enough for them to remember the different between independent- and dependent-variables.  

A lofty goal of mine would be to have kids plan and carry out investigations on their own, but that is months away.  In the meantime, as educators we must support their growth with strategies and support. 

  Balancing Student Questions and Investigations
  Student Led Inquiry: Balancing Student Questions and Investigations
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Condensation: Gas to a Liquid (Part 1)

Unit 7: Molecules
Lesson 3 of 9

Objective: SWBAT Predict, investigate and explain how water condenses

Big Idea: Students will be able to investigate what causes water to appear from "nothing".

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Science, evaporation
  51 minutes
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