Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Density: The Wax Mystery - Section 5: Student Arguments--Explaining the Wax Mystery


It's one thing to attempt to develop a conceptual understanding, but an important question in NGSS-based lessons is when and how do we assess student learning?

I feel that Claim-Evidence-Reasoning -- when incorporated at the right time -- is a meaningful way to assess students' ability to explain their present level of conceptual understanding, while supporting their understanding with evidence and reasoning.  

We can't give C-E-R assessments too early or we risk missing opportunities for students to delve deeply into content.  At the same time, we can't stall using the strategy for too long or we risk missing the optimal time to assess learning.  The optimal time can be determined only by constantly taking the pulse of the class through formative assessment and listening closely to their conversations and ability to navigate through evidence and content.  You, as the educator, will know when it is time to utilize C-E-R, but it may take some time to develop the 'knack'.  I would, however, encourage you to not overuse the strategy, say at the end of every lesson, rather it should be used at the pivotal point at the end of a series of lessons when students have enough evidence to analyze and find meaning.

  Evidence-based Student Reflections at the Conclusion of Pivotal Moments
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Evidence-based Student Reflections at the Conclusion of Pivotal Moments
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Density: The Wax Mystery

Unit 6: Density
Lesson 8 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to plan and carry out investigations to find possible explanations for a wax "mystery".

Big Idea: Students have dealt with solids and placing them in water, but they haven't looked at the density of liquids. This lesson has students think about the factors that lead to various phenomena, like separation and floating in different liquids.

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1 teacher likes this lesson
  45 minutes
fifty ml water
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