Reflection: Self-Talk Potential & Kinetic Energy Experimental Design - Section 3: Students in Action


Developing Students Skills to Apply Math in Science

As I evaluated student results, I noticed that most of my students were recording averages with far more decimals than the data they collected. 

A review of the CCSS math standards reveals that students are not expected to report answers correctly by considering the limitations of the measuring tool until high school. (HSN.Q.A.3Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities.

As a science teacher I will consult with my math team to develop a mini lesson about accuracy that is developmentally appropriate for my students. In the science classroom, teaching mathematically skills in inevitable - math is the language of science. It is how scientist communicate their results to one another. Reporting results that exceed that accuracy of the measuring tools is not good scientific practice. We need to develop good science practices.

The NGSS SP4, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, suggests that students in grades 6-8 should mature int their capabilities of analysis to be able to "Consider limitations of data analysis (e.g., measurement error), and/or seek to improve precision and accuracy of data with better technological tools and methods (e.g., multiple trials)."

I will plan to introduce students to level of accuracy on a case-by-case basis. What tools are we using today? How accurate can we measure using this tool? When we report results, to what degree of accuracy would be appropriate? What do I do with averages that exceed the degree of accuracy of our measuring tools?

Conceptual Understanding Requires Integration Across Disciplines

With the implementation of the CCSS for math and ELA and the NGSS, it is clear that science can no longer be taught without extensions into other disciplines. Teaching an learning is fully intergrated across the disciplines.

Developing student conceptual understanding in science requires integration of discipline so students not only know how things work but why they  work and how to articulate their understandings. In this video, I share how I select standards for integration in my lessons.

Here is the link to the North Carolina site where you can find the CCSS math standards unpacked by grade level.

Here is the link to NGSS DCI.

  Planning Future Instruction
  Self-Talk: Planning Future Instruction
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Potential & Kinetic Energy Experimental Design

Unit 6: Energy, Force & Motion
Lesson 5 of 5

Objective: SWBAT design an experiment demonstrating the relationship between the potential and kinetic energy using pullback cars and report their findings by graphing averages.

Big Idea: Toys are great tools for learning about physical science. What can you learn by playing with pullback cars? How can you use math to demonstrate relationships?

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