The Why Behind Teaching This:
This unit covers standard 5-PS2-1: Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down. During the unit, students will investigate a variety of objects to see that the force of gravity is constant on Earth and pulls things down towards its center. We will also be investigating a variety of ways to overcome gravity.
Several of the lessons in this unit are engineering design projects requiring students to follow the steps of the engineering design process to construct a project. These projects address standard 3-5-ETS1-1: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost. It also addresses engineering standard 3-5-ETS1-2: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. There are also several experiments in the unit which address standard 3-5-ETS1-3: Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
This specific lesson addresses standard 5-PS2-1 by relating the motion of various objects to the pull of gravity. It also covers other forces that work against the pull of gravity.
The goal of this lesson is for students to demonstrate proficiency on the content covered in Unit 4.
Students will demonstrate success on this by scoring 80% or higher on the assessment.
Preparation for Lesson:
Benefits of Reviewing Before the Assessment
Because this unit stretches over several weeks, it is important to review all concepts prior to taking the assessment. Not only does reviewing help ensure the content is fresh in their minds, but it also allows an opportunity for me to check understanding of concepts that students may have struggled with throughout the unit. For example, several groups had a difficult time with the balanced and unbalanced force game that required them to find the net force acting on an object and determine how the object would move. Since this was a difficult task for several groups, I included several examples of this on the review game, and assessment.
Playing the Review Game
My classroom is already set up with table groups. Groups consist of a high level student, a regular student, and 2 ESE/ELL students. Having groups organised this way allows for struggling students to have peer support when answering and explaining questions. Students play the review game today in their table groups.
The game today is the Secret Stick Game. I have written point amounts on the bottom of 30 craft sticks. The amounts range from 100 points to 1,000 points. There are also 3 sticks that have "zero" on them, and 3 sticks that have "steal a stick" written on them. If students get a stick that says "steal a stick", they get to go to any other group and take one of their sticks. I place the Unit 4 Review Game Questions on the overhead and reveal one question at a time. Groups discuss the answers quietly and record an answer on a whiteboard. I ask to see all whiteboards at the same time so groups can't copy down what others have recorded. I check answers using the Unit 4 Review Game Questions - Answer Key, and any group that gets it correct gets to draw a stick from the canister. They do not tell what amount they got.
The video of group answering a game question shows how all students in the group participate to answer the questions. Another video of group discussing a game question shows a group where one student clearly took the lead but others are paying attention and listening to her. Either way groups play the game, all students are reviewing the knowledge and preparing for the assessment.
After all questions have been asked, groups add up their points on their whiteboard. I ask to see all totals at the same time. Doing this makes the game more suspenseful for the students because they really have no idea how many points each group has so they do not know who is going to win. I double check the addition for the top two scores and reward them with tickets (our classroom incentive).
Creating the Assessment
I created the Unit 4 Assessment to align with the lessons taught throughout the unit. If students did not complete the lessons in this unit, they may have a difficult time taking this assessment. The standard that is assessed is based around the concept that gravity pulls things down towards the center of the Earth. I made this the main focus of the assessment but also included information about the other forces that affect motion that were covered throughout this unit.
Completing the Assessment
All students complete the assessment in the 30 minutes allotted. I read the assessment to those students who have the modification on their IEP. After all students have completed the assessment, I score them using the Unit 4 Assessment Answer Key and enter the information on the Data Analysis - Unit 4 Assessment form. I use this form to help me easily identify common areas of weakness across the class, as well as strengths.
As you can see on the Data Analysis - Unit 4 Assessment, Blacked Out Data that questions 3, 11, 12, and 15 were all areas of weakness. When looking more closely as these questions, they were all multiple answer questions, or extended response. I did have 3 students who missed zero and 2 others that only missed one.