Next Generation Science Standard Connection
In this lesson I makes connections to 1-PS4-1, because students learn that vibrating objects make sound. We specifically are going to use drums to make sound, and when the students touch the drum they feel the vibrations. By providing students with an opportunity to feel the vibrations they discover that vibrations make the sound as a result of hitting the drum. In addition the students get to plan their experiment about sound when I provide a cut off balloon, can, rice, and sticks.
Using drums is very engaging, because many children enjoy musical instruments. Plus they may have a connection to them, because of exposure to instruments in music class. Typically I try to select things that my students have a connection to, so they have some prior knowledge. When I can engage their prior knowledge I can get students to buy in or really become interested in the lesson.
Most all of my lessons begin in the lounge or carpet, and then we move to the middle of the room for the middle part of the lesson. So, we are at desks in groups of four for the the explore, explain, and elaborate section. Then, we close the lesson back in the lounge. I find using frequent transitions helps my students persevere through complex tasks, because they get to move frequently.
In addition, I assign students a heterogeneous ability group partner throughout the lesson. The partner stay the same for most of the year, and they have assigned seats next to each other. The partners help each other through the entire lesson.
Now I am ready to get the class excited, assess their prior knowledge, and get them talking. To get the class excited I play the drums and project the lesson image on the smart board. Then I want to assess their prior knowledge, so I say, "Please turn and tell your partner why the drums make sound when I hit them." Now, I listen to assess their knowledge. Then I write down what the students say as I am listening, so we have documentation of their prior knowledge. I created a video: analyzing prior knowledge which shows how I determine what my students remember from previous lessons. Finally, I allow a student to share their conversation with the class.
When I can determine what my students know in the beginning of the lesson then I can find out how much extra explanations I am going to need to add throughout the lesson. Basically, I can plan to pace the lesson fast or slow, and I can call on the students who know more about sound to share. When I allow students to share their knowledge they feel special, and other students enjoy learning more from their peers.
Now, I need to share the plan for the lesson, so my students know what to expect. When the class knows what is expected they seem to follow through with my directions better. So, I say, "Today we are going to hit drums, feel drums, and record out observations about sound. Then you are going to apply what you know to an activity."
In this section I allow each child to hit the drum and feel the top. This creates an opportunity for each child to explore the sound, and feel the vibrations made by drums. Students need hands on experiences to really make sense of the world around them. They need experience feeling, hearing, and observing objects that make sound. I reference the anchor chart I made to help the students understand what observations to record.
Then each student goes back to their desk, and they record what they felt and heard in their science journal. I provide the students an example of what the science journal page should look like, and I project it on the Smart Board to help my students organize their notes.
I am hoping the students record, "When I tap the drum I feel the surface vibrate." As I am walking around and making sure each student has recorded observations I look at their notes to make sure they are seeing that the tapping causes the vibrations which creates the sound.
Now, I engage the class in some scientific discourse to help them develop their communications skills, learn to build off each others ideas, and to confirm their understanding. As students share their observations they naturally compare them and reflect upon the observations they made of the drums. They also add to their peers ideas to develop a more complex idea or understanding.
First, I say, "Talk to your partner about what you observed after you hit the drum? What did you feel with your hand?" Then I listen to assess their ability to talk and compare observations. One thing I like about partner talk is that everyone is talking at the same time, so I specifically get close to the group not talking. Sometimes they just need prompting so I say, "What did you observe? What you write in your journal?" If they are still stuck I allow them to hit the drum. Basically, I ask leading questions to allow my students to arrive at an answer on their own.
Next, I say, "Tell the group on the other side of the table what you observed as you felt the drum." Now the students are talking about their notes. I find that students often naturally correct and explain their reasoning to students who has misinterpreted the observation. To get the class to naturally explain themselves I say things like, "We help each other. We explain our reasoning. We are here for each other." This kind of talk creates an environment where students learn from each other.
The final part of this section is to engage the students in a whole group discussion. I say, "Will a volunteer to share their observations?" Then I listen and ask, "Will somebody add to that?" After all of the talking I am sure that all of my students understand that hitting the drum creates vibrations which give us sound.
In this section each pair of students creates a drum, and then they put rice on top of it. When they hit the drum with the sticks the vibrations make the rice pop up. This creates a visual image for students to actually see the vibrations moving the rice. I do have a video that shares how I gradually release using hands on materials, and how I set up rules: hands on materials
First, I show the class the drum and rice. Then I say, "How can you experiment with sound using these materials?" Then I listen to their comments. This allows the students to engage in an opportunity to begin learning to plan a scientific investigation. Hopefully they decide to put the rice on the drum, tap, and see the effect of the vibrations.
Then I confirm their plan by saying, "So, you are going to create a drum. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. Put a hand full of the rice on top. Tap the top of your drum with the sticks. Then record what happens in your science journal. Also try to record why this happens. You can talk about what happened and why with your partner. Think about what you felt when we tapped the drum earlier." Now, the students are actually engaging in a scientific experiment, and recording their data.
The students record what they see, feel, and hear. Then they record their observations in their science journal. Hopefully, they are going to discover that hitting the drum causes vibrations. Students see the vibration when the rice jumps everywhere.
As the students are working I walk around and make sure they are using the material appropriately. I anticipate there may be some struggle pulling the plastic wrap over the bowl. So, I am there to offer support in any way needed. Sometime if I see a group struggling I say, "How can I help?" Some struggle is okay, but I try to avoid letting students get frustrated.
As the lesson is coming to a close I realize I need to assess my students on understanding vibrations in relation to sound, speaking, and their ability to evaluate their peers work. To do this I allow three student to share their application activity. I do find that everyone wants to share their work. To accommodate my students I let them share during snack or recess. But, I do make sure everyone gets the same number of chance during the lesson to share. I use a spreadsheet that I tape on the board behind the lounge. I go down the roll and check off names as each child shares their work.
At the completion of each child sharing I ask the students listening to give them peer feedback. Students have to tell their peer something they agree with or disagree with and why. Peer feedback provides an opportunity for the students to engage in a higher order thinking activity and reflect upon what their peers are saying, and it makes the listeners accountable. Students are reluctant to evaluate their peers in the beginning of the year, so I model how to evaluate each other everyday for around a month. Although, students are still encouraged to practice giving evaluations, because they need practice. Now it is February and my students are able to evaluate each other. I still have to prompt them to build upon each others comments, and but students are much more confident in what they are saying.
One thing I use to get my students to comply with my behavioral expectations is positive behavior support. Basically, I focus the class on good behavior opposed to calling out negative behaviors. I say, "Criss cross apple sauce, pockets on the floor, hands in our laps talking no more." Next, I continue, "Be sure to look at the speaker. Think about what they are saying, and be prepared to give them some feedback."
Finally, I find using a spreadsheet during this portion of the lesson helps me assess the students. I place a check by the area the student meets my expectations, and I put a minus in the box where they need to improve. The students' names are on the left, and the areas I am assessing are at the top. Our goal is 3/3. I put the standard, 1-PS4-1 at the top, speaking, and peer feedback. Beside each child's name I write their score. By using this data I can plan lessons for small group to help my students in areas where they are not proficient.