Connection to NGSS / Scientific Practices
#4 - Analyzing and Interpreting Data - Students review their observations to identify clues that will help give them a conclusion about what is in their team's blue box.
#7 - Engaging in Argument from Evidence - Teams discuss and agree on their blue box conclusion and then present their observations and conclusion to the rest of their class.
This is Part 2 of the lesson Thinking and Acting Like a Scientist. In this lesson, students present their observations and conclusions from their blue box investigation.
Before the lesson, I made copies of the team's lab work from the last lesson for each person in the team. This way each student has a chance to review the work of their team, which promotes everyone's participation with the review.
Question posted on the board: What does it look and sound like when scientists prepare and share their work?
I signal students to the rug and ask them to read the question with me.
"Scientists, today you will work with your Blue Box team to review your lab and and share your observations and conclusions about what is in your blue box with the rest of the class. After teams have shared, we will talk about what you did that helps us answer our question for the day."
I have chosen not to have a discussion with the 'question for the day' at this point in the lesson. I feel our discussion will be a lot richer when the scientists have had the experience to talk about at the end.
Review Blue Box Lab with Team
After listening to discussions from the last science class and reviewing their work from the lab booklet, I see the scientists need more time to develop their observations. Students were writing conclusions when they should have written observations.
'Just Stick to the Observations ...
I am taking time to develop observations words because I noticed last week that the kiddos were having a hard time describing how to explain the sounds, so for this lesson I scaffold some of their observation vocabulary.
"Scientists, I heard some great discussions last week about what was in your box, and you were able to tell me why you thought your item was round or flat, but when I looked in your lab book for the observations that helped you come to these conclusions I could not find them. So let's review what observations are."
"How do we make observations? I place icons to represent what they said on the observation chart.
"Which senses could we use to make observations about what is in the blue box?" (touch as in weight and ears)
"Right, so your observations words will be words that describe weight or sound. What are some of the words that you may want to use for weight? for sound?"
This activity was a challenge because it was hard for the kiddos to separate their thinking between observation and conclusion. They had an idea what was in the box, but not quite sure how to articulate it. It really helped to have a list of the conclusion language the scientists had used last week, because then I could ask, what observations helped you to know it was a ball. See the attached developing observation words video.
"Today, with your team, you will review your Blue Box lab observations and then write what you think is inside the box. That is your conclusion."
I show the next slide on the smartboard.
"Scientists, will review and revise their notes each time they work on their experiment. View means to look, like look at the view and re means again, so to review mean to look at it again. I will give you 30 seconds to discuss why scientists want to review their notes?"
I listen in to conversations and share with the class what I heard others say. I want to help set the norm, that we go back and look over our work; that this is part of the scientific process.
I send students back to their desks and explain I want each person on the team to have their own lab book to review what the team wrote last week and that it is o.k. for them to cross out or add information to the lab. I ask students to write their name on their copy.
This will be a directed lesson review, I have provided a checklist to help scaffold the student's thinking on the smartboard. I show one criteria at a time to control the pacing and to emphasize the importance of doing a careful, thoughtful review:
"Let's look at the page where your team wrote your observations:"
1. Did we use observations words?
2. Are there words we can add or remove that will make it clearer? more precise?
"I know that some teams have not written their conclusion, their thoughts about what is in their blue box, but I want to us to take a moment and look at the next page."
"This is where you use your observations to help you conclude what is in your blue box. Maybe your observations have led you to believe that your item is round because it rolls, or flat because it slides, or there is more than one. I am going to pass out the boxes so that you can finish your observation and conclusion page. You will have about 10 minutes."
"Remember if you are or not in agreement with something your team member says, be sure to let the speaker know." You may choose to use one of the sentence prompts on 'sharing our opinion chart' to help you express your ideas." I point to the posted chart.
I circulate around the room and check in with the groups to see if they are ready to move on to the next part of the lesson.
Some students may have other ideas about how to test what is in their box. I ask the team to note this in their copy of the lab, so they can try out this new procedure during academic choice time.
This is great because it shows how a lab conclusion can create more questions for a scientist. If I see this going on, I will share this with the class when we share out after presentations.
After teams finish discussions about their observations, evidence and conclusions, I call teams to the rug. I explain and model how teams will prepare and present their Blue Box findings.
"I know we are all curious to find out what each team has concluded is in their box. Scientists are always excited to share their discoveries or to explain what they learned from their experiments, but they are very careful to support their thinking with evidence, the observations that helped them get the answer to their question. Scientists will check their observations / evidence and make sure it supports their conclusion. "
"For example," I project 'my lab paper' which has the same format as the students. "This morning I was wondering if I would need a jacket, these were the observations I noticed outside."
I may even have observations that do not help me make a conclusion about the weather, i.e. there was a snail by the classroom door. I will point this out to the students, that not all our observations may help my conclusion.
I show students my thinking, "I will highlight the observations that help me decide if I should wear a coat". I do my thinking out loud, for example, "Hmm, I wrote no clouds, that means we will have lots of sunshine, I think this evidence helps me with my conclusion about if I need to bring my coat."
After this demonstration, I ask students to turn and share what I did. This is a way for me to check in with my students.
I signal everyone's attention so to give them the directions / expectations for their presentation.
"I know we are excited to share our conclusion and observations about our boxes. Scientists, just like I did, you will share the observations you made and your conclusion about what is in your box. Your observations are your clues. You can highlight these observations just like I did."
"Here are 2 different sentence frames you could use to help your team prepare what you will share with the class. Choose one to use."
On the SmartBoard I project possible sentence frames to scaffold students who may need help with supporting their conclusion with their observations.
"Our observations .... helped us to conclude that .... " or "Our conclusion is ... which is based on these observations... "
I send teams back to their tables to work and pass out the sentence frame presentation forms. I circulate around the room. Listening to conversations and asking questions, like how do you know there is more than one, how will your team decide which conclusion you will use? I do not stay to hear what they decided, I use these questions to help refocus conversations, or to get them to think a little more carefully about what they can say and write about with their observations and conclusions.
I check in with teams to see that they are ready. At this point I ask everyone to put their pencils, highlighters away so that we can be good listeners. Then I call on teams to stand in front of the room to share their findings with the class. I provide an opportunity for students to ask questions, although my class did not ask any questions.
I collect the lab books and presentation forms after all the teams have shared. Later, I will review the lab papers for mis/understandings, to guide future instruction and to help me see how this lesson worked, and where I will want to change it the next time I plan this lesson.
Then I call students to the rug to discuss our question of the day and wrap up the lesson.
After the teams have shared, I call students to the rug and display the question for the day
"Think about what you did today that could help us answer our question. Please turn shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee, heart to heart and share something you did that was like a scientist."
I did not have students pair share because I did not have much time left. I would have preferred that we did a pair share because the same students were participating in the discussion.
I listen to the conversations, noting discussions that will help summarize our question, "What does it look like and sound like when scientists share their work? I am listening for, scientists discuss their observations, review their work; scientists talk about their observations and conclusions. To scaffold the discussion, I ask pairs or class as a whole, what did you do today? How did you support your conclusion?
I signal students to end the pair share and call on students to share something we could add to our chart about how a scientist prepares and shares her work. Afterwards I ask for others to contribute their ideas to our chart.
After students have shared, I explain that I will set out the boxes and summaries for other students to investigate. When we meet for science next time, they will open envelopes with photos to show what was in their box.
I congratulate them for being wonderful science presenters, who clearly presented their evidence, that supported their blue box conclusion.
I took pictures of what was in each box, with a numbered post-it attached to the box. I placed the photos in envelopes and asked students to sit with their teams.
I did not want the students to unwrap the boxes because, other classes were using the boxes, and now the boxes are set up for next year. It also worked out for the scientists that the boxes were not opened because some of the students wanted to go back and listen to the box again once they knew what was in it.
On the count of three all the teams opened their envelopes. Afterward I asked teams to share if their conclusion was correct, close or way off and why.
This short activity worked out well to reinforce the concepts of conclusion, observations and how scientists present their work.
The kiddos were very excited to see what was in their box.
Year 2 I developed a Blue Box Rubric to use with the lab booklet and presentation form.