Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Testing Tower Materials - Part 1 - Section 4: Background for Designing Towers


This background section emerged as I was teaching and observing my students. I had told them about the chairs, table, stool and easel in the room and tried to point out what was holding each one up, but as I observed student drawings it quickly became evident that they missed the point of that discussion. I needed to think about how else I might help students to understand that building requires a support system.

I stopped and demonstrated a paper tower with no supports and with some supports and had students look at the difference. They laughed at the tower with no supports as it crunched up when the dictionary was placed on it. They cheered when the rolled paper provided enough support to hold the dictionary. 

I watched students go back to their drawings and add supports on the edges, or cross supports in different spots throughout their designs. The mini lesson demonstration had worked.

Sometimes in planning a lesson, I assume that students will understand what I am saying and build upon it. When it becomes evident that they are not understanding, I need to stop right there and reteach, or find a new approach to scaffolding new ideas onto old understandings. I know that if I just keep plowing ahead, they will be lost and the lesson will be meaningless. It is my job to reflect upon my teaching as it is happening, and to revise the lesson if necessary.

  Adapting to the Needs Of Students
  Adjustments to Practice: Adapting to the Needs Of Students
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Testing Tower Materials - Part 1

Unit 4: What Is It Made Out Of?
Lesson 5 of 10

Objective: SWBAT create a tower and test its strength to analyze how well a material is suited for building

Big Idea: Scientists choose materials for certain jobs based on the properties of those materials. Students explore why properties of matter are important.

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17 teachers like this lesson
Science, building materials, Building Structures, experiment, matter, shapes
  85 minutes
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