Reflection: Grappling with Complexity Perfect Procedures - Section 2: Explore


Why did I choose not to say anything, even though I knew that students were not being specific enough in their list of materials? Didn't I worry they would "mess it up"?

I do this because the "awkward" silence encourages the students, themselves, to provide feedback to each other. For example, one student mentioned needing soap. I typed the word "soap", exactly as they stated. Rather than immediately calling on another student, I could see that a few were considering that idea, so I waited. After a second or two, another student asked, "Should we use bar soap or liquid soap?" This prompted a discussion about how germs may actually stay on the bar soap and be transferred from one hand to another.

Throughout the entire discussion, I listened and said nothing. Eventually, the class decided that not only do they need liquid soap, but they will need two bottle of the same exact same liquid soap. They reasoned that if they ran out of soap and had to use a different kind, that means they are changing a variable that they did not intend to change, and it may effect their results. I was so impressed and proud of their thinking, and realized that if I were to have spoken up, I would have robbed them of this opportunity to do it themselves. This is a practice I am working in integrating much more into my classroom. My students also decided to include a spray bottle so that they can slightly dampen the bread, in the hopes of speeding up the molding process. They figured this would be okay, since we are limited in time. They also figured it would not skew their results as long as they sprayed each piece of bread evenly.

  Why Don't I Say Anything?
  Grappling with Complexity: Why Don't I Say Anything?
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Perfect Procedures

Unit 3: Science Fair
Lesson 4 of 7

Objective: SWBAT plan and compose step-by-step procedures to follow during scientific investigation.

Big Idea: Students often want to jump into experiments without a clear plan of action. Help them plan an experiment worth investigating!

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