The Why Behind Teaching This
Unit 6 teaches students about Earth's Place in the Universe. Standard 5-ESS1-1: Support an argument that differences in the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars is due to their relative distance from Earth, is one standard covered. Standard 5-ESS1-2: Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky, is the other standard covered.
Throughout this unit, students learned about classifying stars, patterns of stars, and the effects of rotation and revolution. We will be creating models, graphing data, tracing our shadows, and much more. This lesson covers both standards as it is the summative assessment for the unit.
Information About the Assessment
I created this assessment to align with the lessons taught throughout the unit. This assessment will provide evidence on how well my students have grasped the concepts taught. Students who completed the majority of the lessons in this unit should perform well, those who were not taught this unit using the lessons I created may have a more difficult time. For example, questions 10 and 12 refer to circumpolar constellations and seasonal constellations. The standard specifically asks about seasonal appearance of some stars. The lesson I taught on constellations differentiated between the two and gave examples of both. Students may not have learned about circumpolar constellations in other curriculum.
You will notice on the assessment that there are only 4 questions related to standard 5-ESS1-1 and 11 that cover standard 5-ESS1-2. This is because there is only one component to standard 5-ESS1-1, the brightness of stars. Standard 5-ESS1-2 covers more content. This standard basically covers changes due to Earth's movement. Earth's rotation causes day and night, the sun appearing to move across the sky, and changes in the length of shadows. Earth's revolution causes seasonal appearances of some constellations. I chose to teach the moon phases in this unit as well because it can be connected as a way to reinforce revolution because it is the revolution of the moon that causes it's appearance to change.
Question number nine was written as an exemplary question. This question requires students to explain how a shadow will change at different times of the day. The shadow in the picture is at 2:00 p.m. It is short and facing East (although it doesn't give the direction, this is something students learned in the investigation). Students have to describe how the shadow would have looked at 8:00 a.m. In order to get an exemplary mark, they will have to explain that the shadow will be facing west instead of east and why, as well as explain that the shadow will be longer because the sun will be lower in the sky. If students only name one thing, or do not explain their reasoning, they do not earn the exemplary mark. It will not be counted against them if they do not answer it correctly, this is merely an opportunity for students to answer a higher order question which will earn them a higher score.
Lesson Goal: The goal of this lesson is for students to demonstrate proficiency on standard 5-ESS1-1 and 5-ESS1-2.
Success Criteria: Students will demonstrate proficiency by correctly answering 80% of the questions correct on the assessment.
Preparing For The Lesson:
Playing the Review Game
I end every unit with a review game as a way to refresh students memories about content covered throughout the unit. The unit took about 3 weeks to teach. Having such as large population of ESE and ELL students means that retention of content over that period of time may be low.
The review game I play with the students today is Connect Four. It is played similar to the real Connect Four Game which most students are familiar with. I pair up students so that I know it will be a competitive game. For this game it is important to have high students together and struggling students together. If a high student that gets the majority of the questions correct, plays against a struggling student that may only get a few right, the lower student will get discouraged quickly and will most likely shut down. They want to feel like they have a real chance of winning.
Each pair of students sits at a desk across from each other. Each pair gets a Connect Four Partner Game Board, 24 tokens in 2 different colors, and a whiteboard and marker for each person. If you do not have enough tokens for each person in the class to get 12 (each pair will need 2 different colors), you can print the Connect Four Dots on card stock and cut them out to use as tokens.
I place one of the Unit 6 Review Questions on the overhead at a time. Some of the cards have multiple questions on them. I only reveal one part of the question at a time. There are a total of 12 questions on the six cards this way. All students in the class answer the question on their whiteboard. After about a minute I ask to see all boards and students hold up their boards. I use the Unit 6 Review Questions - Answer Key to reveal the correct answer and the students with it correct on their boards get to add a token to their game board. If both students get it correct, they both place a token on, taking turns placing their token first. Each student is trying to get four of their tokens in a row (up and down, across, or diagonal) first so the more they answer correctly, they more likely they are to win.
Taking the Assessment
After going over the review questions, all students return to their seats and I collect all materials. I provide each student with a test cover and a copy of the Unit 6 Assessment. I call all ESE students over to a small groups table in the room and read the test out loud to them. This is an accommodation on all of their IEPs and must be done for every assessment. I make sure I am facing the rest of the class while reading to the ESE so I can still scan the room and am available to answer any questions my regular education students may have.
When finished, students turn their test into the completed work box and read independently until everyone else is finished. I use the Unit 6 Assessment Answer Key to check all assessments later in the day.
As I grade assessments I complete the Data Analysis - Unit 6 Assessment spreadsheet so I can compare areas of weakness. Using a data analysis spreadsheet helps me determine very quickly which questions posed the most problems for the class as a whole so I know which ones to review or reteach.
You can see in the Data Analysis - Unit 6 Assessment Class Blacked Out that there were several questions that were weaknesses and several that were strengths. Out of the four questions about the brightness of stars, 2 were strengths and 2 weaknesses. Questions 1,5,6,7, and 10 were also strengths in the changes due to Earth's movement standard. One of the biggest areas of weakness I noted were questions 4, 8, and 13. These are all questions regarding phases of the moon. This is clearly an area that most students need additional practice with. I will continue to provide opportunities for review and assign practice problems for homework.
Question number 9 was an exemplary question. The question asks how a shadow would have changed at a different time of day. Students who listed one way such as, the shadow would be longer, got the answer correct but did not earn exemplary. In order to earn exemplary, students had to explain that the shadow would get longer, and it would have been in the opposite direction. Students who were not able to provide any of the correct answers did not get it correct.