Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Investigating Work and Forces - Day 2 - Section 1: Student Presentation


Having spent several class periods exploring the calorimetry process and then several other parts of classes having students present their work, it seems like an overall evaluation of the time is in order. There were many pros and cons. Here is a summary of my thoughts about this expenditure of time:


a) Student investment, in the investigations and the presentations, was quite high. 

b) Students chose a secondary question to pursue. This had several positive impacts, including the investment mentioned above.

c) We engaged in all eight of the Science and Engineering Practices.

d) Student questions, as audience members, became more sophisticated over time.

e) The presentations, about 15 minutes in length, were welcome and natural "pace-changers" in class for about a week or so; they were comfortable additions to an 80-minute block lesson.

f) Students gained comfort providing critical feedback - the natural reluctance to be "negative" was replaced by a sense of service to others and to the cause of science. 


a) Data sets related to the secondary questions were meager, limiting the kinds of conclusions that could be drawn.

b) The precision of the data - the specific heats of rocks - was also limited. Lots of variation in any given data set means that the reliability factor was low.

c) Especially near the end of the investigation, some teams were clearly finished and others really needed more time. "Efficiency" and "time on task" each suffered as a result. 

In the end, I'm quite happy with the educational results. We did not truly resolve any of the science issues but we practiced a lot of scientific techniques and lived the life of scientists. Though it was a steep investment of time, the Science & Engineering Practices were nearly constantly being demonstrated, a trade off that with which I am comfortable.


  Adjustments to Practice: An Assessment of In-class Presentations
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Investigating Work and Forces - Day 2

Unit 2: Electrostatics
Lesson 7 of 15

Objective: Students will continue to generate force versus distance data by manipulating elastic materials.

Big Idea: Investigations can be enhanced and data can be made more accurate by refining first efforts: our force and distance measurements are improved.

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