3.1.1.2 Inquiry

Grade: 
3
Subject:
Science
Strand:
Nature of Science & Engineering
Substrand:
The Practice of Science
Standard 3.1.1.2

Scientific inquiry is a set of interrelated processes incorporating multiple approaches that are used to pose questions about the natural world and investigate phenomena.

Benchmark: 3.1.1.2.1 Questions for Investigations

Generate questions that can be answered when scientific knowledge is combined with knowledge gained from one's own observations or investigations.

For example: Investigate the sounds produced by striking various objects.

Benchmark: 3.1.1.2.2 Repeated Investigations

Recognize that when a science investigation is done the way it was done before, even in a different place, a similar result is expected.

Benchmark: 3.1.1.2.3 Observations vs. Inferences

Maintain a record of observations, procedures and explanations, being careful to distinguish between actual observations and ideas about what was observed.

For example: Make a chart comparing observations about the structures of plants and animals.

Benchmark: 3.1.1.2.4 Explanations from Evidence

Construct reasonable explanations based on evidence collected from observations or experiments.

Overview

Standard in Lay Terms 

Students will develop the ability to ask questions, make careful observations, investigate by constructing simple investigations, and construct explanations based on evidential findings.

Big Ideas and Essential Understandings 

Big Idea:

All students participate in inquiry experiences which involve asking questions, conducting simple investigations, using observations and data to construct reasonable explanations for questions, and presenting the results to others.  While there is logic in this process, a step-by-step sequence or scientific method is not implied.  Questions for students to investigate come from previous investigations or experiences, planned classroom activities, or questions students ask each other.  To answer their questions, students, with the help of their teacher, make systematic observations, use "fair tests," and carry out controlled experiments with one variable.  The teacher monitors and models procedures as students measure temperatures, weigh and measure objects, and record their data in numerical form.  With guidance from the teacher, students construct bar graphs, tables, and charts, and look for patterns in their data.  Students begin to develop explanations based on their data.  They check these explanations against their own experiences, data collected from other students, and scientific knowledge.  They write about their experiences and communicate their investigations to others.  SciMathMN Minnesota K-12 Science Framework

Benchmark Cluster 

MN Standard Benchmarks

3.1.1.2.1

Generate questions that can be answered when scientific knowledge is combined with knowledge gained from one's own observations or investigations.  For example: Investigate the sounds produced by striking various objects.

3.1.1.2.2

Recognize that when a science investigation is done the way it was done before, even in a different place, a similar result is expected.

3.1.1.2.3

Maintain a record of observations, procedures and explanations, being careful to distinguish between actual observations and ideas about what was observed.  For example: Make a chart comparing observations about the structures of plants and animals.

3.1.1.2.4

Construct reasonable explanations based on evidence collected from observations or experiments.

THE ESSENTIALS:

"The process skills are basic to what learning is all about.  They lead us to ask pertinent questions.  They help us to think critically.  They are the intellectual raw materials for problem solving."  Ken Mechling and Donna Oliver

Correlations 

Benchmarks for Science Literacy

By the end of the 2nd grade, students should know that:

  • People can often learn about things around them by just observing those things carefully, but sometimes they can learn more by doing something to the things and noting what happens. 1B/P1
  • Describing things as accurately as possible is important in science because it enables people to compare their observations with those of others. 1B/P3
  • When people give different descriptions of the same thing, it is usually a good idea to make some fresh observations instead of just arguing about who is right. 1B/P4

By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that:

  • Scientists' explanations about what happens in the world come partly from what they observe, partly from what they think. 1B/E3a
  • Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments. 1B/E1*
  • Because we expect science investigations that are done the same way to produce the same results, when they do not, it is important to try to figure out why. 1B/E2a*
  • One reason for following directions carefully and for keeping records of one's work is to provide information on what might have caused differences in investigations. 1B/E2b
  • Sometimes scientists have different explanations for the same set of observations. That usually leads to their making more observations to resolve the differences. 1B/E3bc
  • Scientists do not pay much attention to claims about how something they know about works unless the claims are backed up with evidence that can be confirmed, along with a logical argument. 1B/E4

NSES Content Standard A Science as Inquiry Standards

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Plan and conduct a simple investigation.  In the earliest years, investigations are largely based on systematic observations.  As students develop, they may design and conduct simple experiments to answer questions.  The idea of a fair test is possible for many students to consider by fourth grade.

Use data to construct a reasonable explanation.  This aspect of the standard emphasizes the students' thinking as they use data to formulate explanations.  Even at the earliest grade levels, students should learn what constitutes evidence and judge the merits or strength of the data and information that will be used to make explanations.  After students propose an explanation, they will appeal to the knowledge and evidence they obtained to support their explanations.  Students should check their explanations against scientific knowledge, experiences, and observations of others.

Communicate investigations and explanations.  Students should begin developing the abilities to communicate, critique, and analyze their work and the work of other students.  This communication might be spoken or drawn as well as written.

AAAS Atlas:

The claims people make are sometimes based on how they feel about something rather than on what they observe.  9E/E2 (ID: SMS-BMK-0652)

Offer reasons for claims and consider reasons suggested by others. 12A/E2 (ID: SMS-BMK-0772)

Seek reasons for believing something rather than just claiming "Everybody knows that" or "I just know" and discount such claims when made by others. 12E/E3 (ID: SMS-BMK-0845)

Buttress their statements with facts found in books, articles, and databases, and identify the sources used and expect others to do the same. 12E/E1 (ID: SMS-BMK-0843)

Scientists do not pay much attention to claims about how something they know about works unless the claims are backed up with evidence that can be confirmed and with a logical argument. 1B/E4 (ID: SMS-BMK-1903)

Common Core Standards

See "Cross-curricular Connections" section for Language Arts correlations to this standard.

Misconceptions

Student Misconceptions 

NSDL Science Literacy Maps

When asked to use evidence to judge a theory, students of all ages may make only theory-based responses with no reference made to the presented evidence.  Sometimes this appears to be because the available evidence conflicts with the students' beliefs.

Understanding Science: How Science Really Works

Science proves ideas.

Science can only disprove ideas.

Vignette

Students at this age are beginning to distinguish between the designed world and the natural world.  This vignette has the students examining a designed object and then participating in the design process as they design one of their own, based on what they learned.

On a snowy January day, Mr. K.'s third graders are talking excitedly about the snow that fell over the weekend.  "I wonder what it would be like to play with snow in July?" Mr. K. asks.  This gets the imaginations of the children going as they anticipate snowball fights in their swimsuits and sledding under the sprinkler.  After a few minutes of conversation, Mr. K. asks, "How could we keep snow until July?"  The students are eager to respond. "Put it in the freezer!"  "Put it in a cooler!"  "Wrap it in newspaper!"  One student, who was reading a book by Laura Ingalls Wilder, describes the community ice house in which the people she read about kept ice.  Looking for more detail, Mr. K. asks, "What conditions must there be in order for us to keep snow?"  "It has to be cold!"  "Or insulated!"  "Or both!" the students respond.  Mr. K. asks, "What is insulation, and how does it work?"  A discussion ensues and the students list what they know about insulation on the board.  Mr. K. has some small coolers available for the students to examine and they work in groups to investigate how they keep things cold.  "Tomorrow," Mr. K. announces, "you will work in small groups to design a way to keep a paper cup full of snow from melting for four hours."  After discussing the criteria for evaluating their designs, the students meet with their groups to discuss possible designs.  Mr. K. has a wide variety of materials that the students might use in this design project, including many thicknesses and shapes of polystyrene and cardboard, old holiday tins, milk cartons, newspaper, and other packing material.  Some students bring materials from home.  Excitedly, the students begin to construct their "coolers."  As they work, they record the materials they are using, what the design looks like, and why they think that it will work.  Later, they record how well their design kept the snow from melting.  The activity continues for a week, with students trying their designs and then modifying them the next day.  At the end of each day, they share their designs with the class and talk about what worked, what didn't, and make plans for improving their design.  On the last day, the students put a cup of snow in their final design, set them on the counter and check them every half hour.  They collect data about their snow cups and anticipate which designs will keep the snow from melting.  At the end of the day, they discuss what things were the same and different in the ones that worked and the ones that didn't.  Then they all share "snow cones" and celebrate a "cool" day. 

Vignette adapted from SciMathMN's K-12 Science Framework 1997

Resources

Instructional Notes 

Instructional suggestions

Students' investigations at this level can be expected to bear on detecting the similarities and differences among the things they collect and examine.  They should come to see that in trying to identify and explain likenesses and differences, they are doing what goes on in science all the time.  What students may find most puzzling is when there are differences in the results they obtain in repeated investigations at different times or in different places, or when different groups of students get different results doing supposedly the same experiment.  That, too, happens to scientists, sometimes because of the methods or materials used, but sometimes because the thing being studied actually varies.

Research studies suggest that there are some limits on what to expect at this level of student intellectual development.  One limit is that the design of carefully controlled experiments is still beyond most students in the middle grades.  Others are that such students confuse theory (explanation) with evidence for it and that they have difficulty making logical inferences.  However, the studies say more about what students at this level do not learn in today's schools than about what they might possibly learn if instruction were more effective.

In any case, some children will be ready to offer explanations for why things happen the way they do.  They should be encouraged to "check what you think against what you see."  As explanations take on more and more importance, teachers must insist that students pay attention to the explanations of others and remain open to new ideas.  This is an appropriate time to introduce the notion that in science it is legitimate to offer different explanations for the same set of observations, although this notion is apparently difficult for many youngsters to comprehend.

ref: Benchmarks Online ~ Project 2061 ~ AAAS

Sustained Inquiry (Applying the questions, tools, and methodologies of knowledge domains to a specific inquiry): Students work individually or with partners as they plan their individual inquiries.  They think about an area of interest and plan their studies.  They organize their information in learning logs by answering the following questions:

  • What do I want to know?
  • Why did I choose this question?
  • What do I already know?
  • What resources will I use?

While doing research, they keep notes on the process and on what they learn and then answer the following questions:

  • What did I find out?
  • How will I share my study with others?
  • What new questions do I have?

ref:  Thirteen Ed Online: Concept to Classroom

Understandings About Scientific Inquiry

Scientific investigations involve asking and answering a question and comparing the answer with what scientists already know about the world.

Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer.  Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).

Simple instruments, such as magnifiers, thermometers, and rulers, provide more information than scientists obtain using only their senses.

Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge).  Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations.

Scientists make the results of their investigations public; they describe the investigations in ways that enable others to repeat the investigations.

Scientists review and ask questions about the results of other scientists' work.

ref:  SciMathMN Minnesota K-12 Science Framework

It is valuable to explicitly teach and model how to read and interpret visuals, such as charts, tables and graphs, and have students practice making their own.  For more information about how to teach about reading diagrams, see the following article:

McTigue E. & Flowers A. (2011, May). Science visual literacy: Learners' perceptions and knowledge of diagrams. The Reading Teacher, 64 (8), pp. 578-589 (full text of the article is unavailable for free online. To access the abstract, visit the International Reading Association)

The Core of Science: Relating Evidence and Ideas: (3.1.1.2 all benchmarks) This website has interactive representations of the process of science.  Great site for teachers to gain understanding on concepts and to familiarize themselves with student misconceptions.

Ordering Information

Crayfish: Live crayfish can be purchased locally at Transmississippi Biological Supply (TMBS).  Live specimens, such as crayfish, should not be released back into nature.  The chances of introducing either diseases or destructive, non-native species into local habitats is very high.  Please protect native species and habitat - do not release classroom animals into the wild.

Leeches: local baitstore

Worms/Nightcrawlers: local baitstore

Transmississippi Biological Supply, Shoreview, MN for living and preserved biological specimens

Selected activities:

Introducing the Process of Investigative Science Using Worms (This is same activity that is listed in 3.1.1.1)

Students learn that a living thing can sense and respond to its environment.  Summary: Students are introduced to the process of investigative science through a guided inquiry activity.  Given a testable question and materials, students as a class make predictions, and design an investigation with guidance from the teacher.  Then in pairs, students do the investigation, collect data, draw conclusions, and discuss ways to improve on the investigative design.  After this activity, students will be able to develop independent investigations in this and other subject areas.  (Also fits standards 3.1.1.1,  3.1.3.4.1, and 3rd grade Life Science standard 3.4.1.1)

Guided Leech Activity and Record Keeping in a Science Notebook (A MnSTEP Activity - This activity is also listed in 3.1.1.1)

Summary: In this classroom activity, students will observe leeches, develop questions about them, and decide as a class which question to investigate further.  The teacher and students will create a scientific investigation to test their question.  A science notebook will be utilized to record questions, data, and results.  (Also fits standards 3.1.1.1 and 3.1.3.4.1)

ReadWriteThink: Multimedia Responses to Content Area Topics Using Fact - "Faction" - Fiction and Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin (This activity is also listed in 3.1.1.1)

Summary of objectives:

  • Analyze and synthesize information from a read-aloud by categorizing it as fact, fiction, or fictional information that sounds factual ("faction").
  • Increase knowledge by conducting research about a specific topic.
  • Apply what they have learned by categorizing the information from their research into fact, fiction, or fictional information that sounds factual, and then using this information to create a multimedia project.
  • Work cooperatively to research and write about a topic using multimedia tools (keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Big Egg Mystery

Purpose: To help students understand the scientific process by exploring how a bird can sit on his/her eggs without breaking them.  Summary: This lesson is meant to take advantage of students' natural curiosity about this subject by challenging them to do an activity involving eggs to test a hypothesis.  In particular, students will conduct an experiment where they will use eggs to support some heavy books.

Instructional Resources 

Additional resources or links:

Foundations - Volume 2 - Inquiry - Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K-5 Classroom  A resource (PDF) for professionals in science, mathematics, and technology education.

10 Science Teaching Tips for Elementary School: Teaching Science for Conceptual Learning and Understanding Teacher tips and training by Suite 101®.

These 10 tips are designed to support conceptual understanding in support of memorization of science facts.  The use of these tips actively engages students in critical thinking skills.  Active engagement results in students developing better understanding of science and how to conduct investigations like scientists.

Graph Club 2.0 The Graph Club 2.0 from Tom Snyder Productions® is an innovative, easy-to-use tool for creating, exploring, interpreting, and printing graphs.  It helps students in grades K-4 make the transition from graphing with manipulatives to graphing in the abstract.

FOSS Science Notebook Why Incorporate Science Notebooks into FOSS?

  • Benefits to Students
  • Benefits to Teachers
  • Organization
  • Entry Ideas and Guides to Follow

More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children's Books to Guide Inquiry, K-4 (e-book) by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan.

Can be purchased at the NSTA Science Store 

The lessons, following the 5E instructional model developed by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) cover a variety of science content - physical science, life science, and Earth and Space Science.  They include reproducible student pages and assessments.  They feature embedded reading-comprehension strategies.  And they make students yearn to learn from such engaging fiction and nonfiction books as Diary of a Worm, Sunshine On My Shoulders, How Big is a Foot? and Leo Cockroach, Toy Tester.

New Vocabulary 

Vocabulary/Glossary

Hypothesizing: providing explanations consistent with available observations.

Interpreting: synthesizing, drawing conclusions, seeing patterns.

Investigating: planning, conducting, measuring, gathering data, controlling variables.

Observing: watching carefully, taking notes, comparing and contrasting.

Predicting: suggesting an event in the future, based on observations.

Questioning: asking questions about observations; asking questions that can lead to investigations.

From: FOUNDATIONS Volume 2; A monograph for professionals in science, mathematics, and technology education: Inquiry Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K-5 Classroom.

Additional Vocabulary:

Claim: assertion about how the natural world works or a statement someone wants us to believe is true.

Communication: exchanging of information or informing others in a variety of means: oral, written, representational.

Data: a collection of facts, such as values or measurements.  It can be numbers, words, measurements, observations or even just descriptions of things.

Evidence: information (data, facts, observations) used to support or not support a claim.

Experiment: investigations designed to see how things affect each other.

Fact: a piece of information that is empirically true and can be supported by objective evidence.

Hypothesis: a statement about the natural world that can be scientifically tested and predicts the possible outcomes of the investigation.

Inference: a conclusion based on empirical data.

Inquiry: process of asking questions to find out more about a topic.

Investigation: a careful study used to try to answer questions about a topic.

Observation: information gathered using your sense or through taking a measurement.

Opinion: statements about one's personal feelings, cannot be proven.

Question: (n.) a sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information; (v.) feel or express doubt about, raise objections to.

Result: a consequence, effect, or outcome of something.

Variable: factors that can change the results of an experiment.

 

Technology Connections 

Kidspiration  Software created for K-5 learners that uses pictures, words, and links to develop mindmaps, charts, and data comparisons to organize and display work.

PowerPoint in the Classroom  PowerPoint is a presentation tool by Microsoft.  This site gives several ideas for using PowerPoint in the classroom.

Prezi: To "create astonishing presentations live and on the web"

ReadWriteThink: To organize ideas in graphic organizers

SMART Notebook lesson that may be adapted to suit lessons:

Soils and Worms (SMART Notebook lesson): A second grade science lesson about the components of soils and worms.  Subject: Science, Grade: 1, 2, Date submitted: May 25, 2010, Submitted by: E. Rees Link to SMART Notebook lesson, Search terms: worms, plants, soils

Cross Curricular Connections 

This standard fits with MN Science standard 3.1.1.1 Scientists work as individuals and in groups, emphasizing evidence, open communication and skepticism.

In the 3rd grade science class, students are expected to "read and comprehend informational texts, including science, and technical texts" (MN LA Standard 3.2.10.10)  and use the text to provide evidence to support their claims.  The Minnesota K-12 Language Arts Standards describe what students should be able to accomplish through reading nonfiction:

  • 3.2.1.1  Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • 3.2.2.2  Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
  • 3.2.3.3  Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
  • 3.2.5.5  Use text features and search tools (e.g. key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
  • 3.2.6.6  Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

3rd grade science requires students to generate questions that can be answered when scientific knowledge is combined with knowledge gained from one's own observations or investigations (Benchmark 3.1.1.2.1) and to maintain a record of observations, procedures and explanations (Benchmark 3.1.1.2.3).  The Minnesota K-12 Language Arts Standards describe what students should be able to accomplish through writing:

  • 3.6.1.1  Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reason.
  • 3.6.2.2  Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • 3.6.6.6  With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
  • 3.6.7.7  Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • 3.6.8.8  Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

3rd grade science requires students to generate questions that can can be answered when scientific knowledge is combined with knowledge gained from one's own observations or investigations (Benchmark 3.1.1.2.1) and construct reasonable explanations based on evidence collected from observations or experiments (Benchmark 3.1.1.2.4) in speaking and class discussions.  The Minnesota K-12 Language Arts Standards describe what students should be able to accomplish through speaking:

  • 3.8.1.1  Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • 3.8.3.3  Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.

Assessment

A great resource for assessments for students, teachers, and administrators is:   Foundations: A monograph for professionals in science, mathematics, and technology education Inquiry Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K-5 Classroom

Assessment of Students

Formative and Summative: Science notebooks and reflective journals showing explanations and evidence to support claims made by themselves or others.

Choose and Critique set-up of an investigation: Benchmark 3.1.1.2.1: 

Two students investigated the growth of pea plants.

  1. Each student had three pots.  All the pots contained the same type and amount of soil.  Students planted pea seeds in each pot.
  2. The students set up their investigations as shown in the table below.

Ask your students:

  • Which student above had the best setup to find out how the amount of sunlight affects the growth of pea plants?
  • Explain why you chose this student's setup.
  • What do you think you could learn about plant growth from the setup that you did not choose?

Answers:

Student response selects Carmen's set-up and indicates that Carmen varied the amount of sunlight and kept the amount of water added and the temperature of the environment the same. Response also indicates that Michael could learn how temperature affects plant growth.

Question taken from: NAEP Question Tool

Design an investigation to compare types of bird food (Benchmark 3.1.1.2.1/Level 4):

A bird-watcher wants to see many birds in a one-hour period.  She decides to investigate which type of food will attract more birds in her backyard.  She has a choice of two types of bird food:

  1. Sunflower seeds
  2. Thistle seeds

Ask your students:

Describe a fair test the bird-watcher could conduct to help her decide which food will attract more birds.

Answers:

Student response describes a complete investigation whose objective is to count the number of birds that go to each type of food in a particular time period.  Investigation consists of five components: 1) using two containers that are the same type, 2) testing both types of food, keeping them separate from each other, 3) placing the containers in the same location, 4) counting the number of birds seen eating the seeds, and 5) observing for the same amount of time.

Question taken from NAEP Question Tool

Mind Maps can be used as collaborative formative assessment.

Assessment of Teachers

Questions to consider for the inquiry-based classroom:

  • Can students identify a testable question? (3.1.1.2.1)
  • Can students organize data into a table?
  • Can students analyze simple graphing (bar graph and line graph)? 
  • Can they use data to make comparisons? (3.1.1.2.3) 
  • Can students recognize or generate a reasonable conclusion based on evidence? (3.1.1.2.4)  (Questions generated using MCA-II test specifications.)

Self-reflection questions: 

  • Am I using open-ended questions that encourage investigation, observation, and thinking? 
  • Am I using multiple means of assessments including appropriate prompts to help children go to the next stage of learning? 
  • Am I carefully listening to students' ideas, comments, and questions in order to help them develop their skills and thought processes?

Differentiation

Struggling Learners 

Struggling and At-Risk

Use flexible grouping and small-group instruction on a regular basis.  Science students benefit from interacting and working together toward a common goal.  The goal might be completion of a laboratory exercise, problem-solving activity, or assigned project.  Teachers may introduce a concept with the entire class, then follow up with small group or pair work.  Groups should not be stagnant; frequent regrouping should occur based on complexity of content, student interest, student learning style, or other factors.

Have a variety of materials, resources, and texts available for student use.  Students exploring a concept should have access to written descriptions, graphic images, and audio-visual representations related to the topic.  A student with above or below grade-level reading ability will benefit from studying textbooks and reading materials at the appropriate level.  Supporting materials for investigation and experimentation should be readily available, and students should be trained in their use.

Develop learning stations.  Create areas in the classroom for independent or small-group investigation of a scientific principle or process.  Provide necessary materials and resources at each location.  The topic at each station should relate to a major theme of study.  Tasks should emphasize thinking skills and should force students to actively solve problems.  Move among students as they work, asking questions and cementing understanding.

ref: Teaching Today: How-To Articles

English Language Learners 

Communicate using many formats.  Graphs, charts, and figures that do not rely primarily on written or spoken language to convey information can be extremely helpful.  Layout of visual aids should be clear and uncluttered.

Focus on key science terms.  Use short, less complex sentences to teach and reinforce important vocabulary before, during, and after the lesson.

Make use of students' background knowledge of science concepts.  Attempt to discover what ELLs already know about a given topic and build upon it.

Have students identify familiar terminology.  Many science terms are used internationally.  Ask students to inform you when they recognize this type of vocabulary.

Consider your seating plan.  Students with limited English proficiency or SpEd students might benefit from sitting closest to the instructor, to a student who might assist with translation, or to a particular classroom resource.

Provide additional opportunities for practice.  Students with limited English proficiency or SpEd students may need extra time and practice opportunities.

ref: Teaching Today: How-To Articles

Extending the Learning 

Students should work on designing their own data tables for experiments instead of teacher designed data tables.  Students can use Microsoft Excel or Graph Club 2.0 to create charts and graphs related to their investigations and interpret the data independently.

Multi-Cultural 

Develop learning stations.  Create areas in the classroom for independent or small-group investigation of a scientific principle or process.  Provide necessary materials and resources at each location.  The topic at each station should relate to a major theme of study.  Tasks should emphasize thinking skills and should force students to actively solve problems.  Move among students as they work, asking questions and cementing understanding.

Engage students in role play or simulation activities.  Activities based on authentic situations can stimulate learning in students with a variety of interests, learning styles, and abilities.  Design lessons around computer simulations, debates, or science topics currently in the news.  These types of activities have the power to engage students and encourage active learning.

ref: Teaching Today: How-To Articles

Special Education 

Provide students with a sentence frame in order to form inquiry based questions (What is the effect of __________________ on _________________?) and generate explanations (I think _______________________ affects _________________________ because _______________________).  Create alternative data tables for struggling writers using pictures and fill-in-the-blanks.

Parents/Admin

Classroom Observation 

Administrators

Administrators will see students communicating using a variety of methods to demonstrate found evidence from observations in investigations.  Students will be asking questions of themselves, classmates, and the teacher to gain knowledge based on their investigations and observations.  Students will be planning and carrying out their own investigations while collaboratively working with others.  Students should be critiquing their own work.  Ref: Foundations Vol. 2, Chapter 10.

 

Parents 

Question children's thoughts.  Ask: Why do you think that is so?  What can we do to find out?

Have children elaborate when discussing their observations.  Ask for accurate descriptions.

Let children know it's okay to have different explanations for the same set of observations that another scientist has done.  Encourage them to make more observations to find out why there are differences.  That usually leads to their making more observations to resolve the differences.

Let children know that claims must be backed with evidence to support the claims.