Reflection: Complex Tasks Why Does the Sun Rise and Set? - Section 3: Explore:


Allowing students to plan their own investigation provide students with a more meaningful learning experience that engages students at a new level of understanding.  

Mary Bigelow states, "Although the practice of planning and carrying out investigations has always been a part of good science instruction, the student focus often has been more on carrying out than on planning, with teacher-structured investigations far outnumbering student opportunities to develop their own research questions. Giving students opportunities to design and plan investigations allows them to truly experience the excitement of science and better understand the nature of scientific inquiry."

So how do we do that in first grade?  I LOVE the approach that I used in this lesson.  I began by stating the research questions: "Why does the sun rise and set each day?"  I spent a lot of time discussing this question with my first grade students.  We looked at our KLEWS and discovered that we already that sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  I told them it would be important to use that information in our investigation.  I asked my students to share in a whole group setting way that we could investigate.  After a couple share outs, I showed my students the tools available to them.  At that point my students were so excited to share their plans. I had them move to find their turn and talk partners and then asked, "How might you investigate this questions using these tools?" I walked around and listened to conversations and then brought the class back together. I could tell a couple groups were having a hard time coming up with a plan, so I shared one of the ideas that I had heard while listening to the groups. After that, I asked my students to talk and revise their plans.  This guided approached has worked over and over again!  My students feel so autonomous and take ownership over their own learning!

  Complex Tasks: Planning Investigations - FUN in First!!
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Why Does the Sun Rise and Set?

Unit 3: Unit 3: Celetial Patterns: The Sun, The Moon and Stars
Lesson 7 of 21

Objective: SWBAT use a model to record, observe and make conclusions about the predictable patterns of our sunrise and sunset.

Big Idea: I LOVE a beautiful sunset! In this lesson students get to use a model to learn more about the patterns that cause the sun to set and rise each day.

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