Standards And The Inquiry Classroom

Performance StandardsMaybe its me, it probably is, but when I hear the word standards I feel a little uncomfortable. I feel trapped, unable to stretch or break out. No tangents, no questions just a headlong rush to check off a box indicating that I have covered the material. In taking on a science education class I had the feeling that this day would come. Well it has…

I don’t think the standards are that bad.

In looking over the old “new” standards I found a very nice incarnation of the standards, breaking the flat hierarchy that I always found so damnably mind numbing.

Have a look at the table of contents, which is refreshingly rich in examples of inquiry based activities that can be used to address the standards:

Here is the table of contents, and here is my favorite “come back can” activity.

Somehow when it is laid out this way, it all seems so simple. Well it’s not, but it is nice to see such a well done dissection of the performance standards plus commentary and work samples.

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16 thoughts on “Standards And The Inquiry Classroom

  1. Okay School of Ed folks. I want you to go to the performance standards table of contents (link can be found in the post).
    1) Select any work sample from elementary or middle school and read up on the activity and commentary.
    2) Create a lesson plan around that activity.
    3) Use the examples in the book as a template to create your lesson plan
    4) Use the “Overview of the Performance Standards” and “Performance Descriptions” to choose what concept your chosen activity is centered around.
    5) Post your lesson plan below.

  2. Laura March
    Edu 7136
    Elementary School Lesson Plan on Potential and Kinetic Energy
    Based on The Come Back Can Activity

    Overview on the Lesson: Energy is one of the most important issues in science and technology. Energy-related activities will help students have an understanding of the importance of energy and the different forms that energy can have. Students will be able to predict and experiment on what materials will create a can with the “most” energy (can roll back the furthest).

    Science Themes:

    Scale-The scale between the weight and the size of the can has an effect on the distance the can will roll back.
    System-The activity requires students to create their own system(can) out of a can, rubber bands, weights and paper clips.

    Standards:

    S1-Physical Science Concepts: Properties of objects and materials.
    S1-Physical Science and Concepts: Position and Motion of objects.
    S4-Scientific Connections and Applications: Big ideas and unifying concepts.
    S5-Scientific Thinking: Use concepts from standards 1 to 4.
    S7-Scientific Communication: Represent data in multiple ways.
    S7-Scientific Communication: Use facts to draw conclusions.

    National Standards:
    As a result of the activities in K-4, all students should develop
    -Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

    Scientific Skills:

    Observation-Students will observe which methods of designing their Come Back can gets it to roll back the furthest.
    Inference/Prediction-Students will infer from their observations and trials which materials should be used to create their Come Back can.
    Communication-Students will be able to communicate their findings with their group. They will also communicate with each other when developing new theories.
    Experimenting-Students will design and carry out experiments to alter the design of their can.

    Curricular Integrations:
    Language Arts-Students will be able to write reflections on why they believe their results turned out they way they did (explai8n why the can did or did not move in a certain way).
    Mathematics-Students will measure the distance their cans rolled back. Students will also measure the weight of the different size sinkers they used. Students could graph results showing that the different weight of the sinker effects the distance the can rolled back.
    Art-Students will draw diagrams of the designs of their can.

    Materials:
    For the original Come Back Can:
    -2 paper clips -1 coffee can -1rubber band
    -1 tape measure -2 half ounce sinkers

    For groups own design of the Come Back Can:
    -different size paper clips (small, medium and large) -different size rubber bands (thick and thin)
    -different size cans -different size sinkers
    Procedure:
    1) Put a hole in the top and bottom of the coffee can.
    2) Attach weights to the middle of the rubber band (weights placed together).
    3) Poke rubber band through each end of the can (bottom and top).
    4) Put a paper clip on the bottom and top of the can.
    5) In groups come up with your own design for a Come Back can using the same materials but varying the size of the materials (ex: different size can).

    Closed Questions:
    1) What happens to the rubber band as the can rolls forward? (it twists)
    2) What is potential energy?
    3) What is kinetic energy?

    Open Questions:
    1) What effect do you think that the weight of the sinker has on the distance the can rolls back?
    2) Why do you think the can rolls back?
    3) What did you find out about the design of the can?
    4) What possible explanations do you think a scientist would give for the behavior of the can?
    5) What was the one thing (material) that you felt helped the can to roll the furthest back?

    Assessment:
    Student Assessment:
    1) How does this activity relate to a yo-yo?
    2) Give three of example of potential energy converting into kinetic energy?
    3) Students will record and reflect on the various ways they constructed their cans.

    Teacher Assessment:
    Record students’ questions and responses to questions asked. Read over student reflections in notebooks to check for student understanding.

    Bibliography:
    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education

  3. The Butterfly Life Cycle

    Overview of the Lesson

    This lesson is centered on a guided discovery teaching module that is geared toward introducing elementary students to investigate the life cycle of a butterfly. Students will investigate the life cycle of the butterfly by observing a live butterfly as it develops through its life stages in a commercially prepared butterfly habitat and well as from access information in reference materials. Students will record their observations in a journal and report what they learn through their writing and art work.

    Science Themes

    Antennae – found on the butterfly’s head, used to taste the air, and help with balance and orientation.
    Caterpillar – the larval stage of a butterfly or moth.
    Chrysalis – the hard shell covering the pupa, shaped like an upside-down teardrop.
    Larva – the second stage of metamorphosis – another term for caterpillar.
    Metamorphosis – the change that the butterfly life goes through.

    National Science Education Standards

    As a result of this lesson, students should develop an understanding of:

    Standard 2
    Life Sciences Concepts
    The student demonstrates conceptual understanding by using a concept accurately to explain observations and make predictions and by representing the concept in multiple ways (through words, diagrams, graphs, or charts, as appropriate). Both aspects of understanding—explaining and representing—are required to meet this standard.
    • 2.a The student produces evidence that demonstrates understanding of characteristics of organisms, such as survival and environmental support; the relationship between structure and function; and variations in behavior.
    • 2.b The student produces evidence that demonstrates understanding of life cycles of organisms, such as how inheritance and environment determine the characteristics of an organism; and that all plants and animals have life cycles.

    Standard 5
    Scientific Thinking
    The student demonstrates scientific inquiry and problem solving by using thoughtful questioning and reasoning strategies, common sense and conceptual understanding from Science Standards 1 to 4, and appropriate methods to investigate the natural world; that is, the student:
    • 5c Uses evidence from reliable sources to construct explanations.

    Standard 6
    Scientific Tools and Technologies
    The student demonstrates competence with the tools and technologies of science by using them to collect data, make observations, analyze results, and accomplish tasks effectively; that is, the student:
    • 6c Acquires information from multiple sources, such as experimentation and print and non-print sources.

    Standard 7
    Scientific Communication
    The student demonstrates effective scientific communication by clearly describing aspects of the natural world using accurate data, graphs, or other appropriate media to convey depth of conceptual understanding in science; that is, the student:
    • 7a Represents data and results in multiple ways, such as numbers, tables, and graphs; drawings, diagrams, and artwork; and technical and creative writing.

    Standard 8
    Scientific Investigation
    The student demonstrates scientific competence by completing projects drawn from the following kinds of investigations, including at least one full investigation each year and, over the course of elementary school, investigations that integrate several aspects of Science Standards 1 to 7 and represent all four of the kinds of investigation:
    • 8b A systematic observation, such as a field study.

    Scientific Skills

    Classification – Students will be able to identify the four stages of the butterfly’s life cycle in the order.
    Observation- Students will observe the life cycle of the butterfly’s life over a period of weeks.
    Measurement- Students will check the commercially prepared butterfly habitat and measure the amount of time it takes the butterfly to complete its life stages.
    Gather and organize data- Students will gather and organize data from journal, diagrams and summary report to create a book of the butterfly’s life cycle.
    Communication- Communication skills will develop as students present their results in diagrams, artwork, as well as creative writing.
    Create Model-Students will acquire information from multiple sources to create a report using printed and non- printed sources.

    Curricular Integrations

    In Language Arts, students will write narrative journals and create a book report with bibliography listing several references used.

    In Art, students will create diagrams that illustrate the four stages of the life cycle.

    Materials

    Commercially prepared Butterfly Habitat
    Book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
    Reference materials
    Paper
    Pen and Pencils
    Crayons
    Three hole puncher
    String

    Procedure

    Steps to Follow

    1. The introduction activity includes the teacher asking students “What they know about Butterflies?” Students will be give time to share their experiences in class before asking any follow up questions.
    2. The teacher will then read THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR, BY ERIC CARLE.
    3. Teacher will then go over key science themes from the book.
    4. The first activity is to divide students into groups of four and have them observe the life cycle of a butterfly in a commercial prepared habitat.

    Closed questions for Butterfly Life Cycle

    A. The butterfly starts out as what? (The butterfly starts out as an egg.)
    B. Another name for the caterpillar is? (The larva is another name for a caterpillar.)
    C. The larva makes a (blank) to use to change into a butterfly. (Chrysalis)
    D. There are how many stages in the lifecycle of a butterfly’s life?(There are four stages in a butterfly’s life.)
    E. The lifecycle of a butterfly’s can also be called what? (The life cycle of a butterfly can also be called metamorphosis.)

    Open Questions for the Butterfly Life Cycle

    A. What do caterpillars look like?
    B. How do you think they got to be caterpillars?
    C. What do they feel like?
    D. Are they furry? Slimy?
    E. How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?”

    Steps to Follow (continued)

    5. Students will be instructed to record their observations in a journal independently as well as draw a picture of each stage.
    6. The second activity requires students to obtain references material printed and non- printed from a library to research the relationship between the butterfly’s physical structures and the functions of those structures. The butterfly uses a probe which is a physical structure to getting nectar which is the function.
    7. Students will then write a one page summary of this research including bibliography and create an illustration.
    8. The third activity is to have the students create a book using their recorded observation, diagrams and report. Students will then place the pages in order and sequence of stages and use hole puncher and string to put book together.

    Assessment

    Student Assessment

    1. Students will provide evidence of understanding of the butterfly’s life cycle by keeping a narrative journal of observations and by making a diagram that illustrates the four stages of the life cycle.
    2. Students will summarize information about butterfly life cycle from reference sources in narrative form and in a diagram.
    3. Students will write and illustrate knowledge of characteristics of butterfly specifically the relationship between structures and functions.
    4. Students will create a book of the butterfly’s life cycle.

    Teacher Assessment

    Invite a peer teacher to observe overall procedures and give feedback for improvement.

    Bibliography

    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education
    http://schools.nyc.gov/offices/teachlearn/documents/standards/science/es/18performance.html

  4. Kerry Wright EDU 7136
    Dr. Gillespie Paper IV

    Light or Dark

    Overview of the Lesson
    Since alternative energy sources are important for future generations, the purpose of the experiment is to teach students how they can utilize the energy from the sun in an effective matter.

    Science Themes
    Systems – the students will collect data about temperatures with and with out direct sunlight.
    Models – the students will create a model to understand the effects of the relationship between the sun and color.
    Patterns of Change – the students will describe a pattern of change in temperatures based on color and direct and indirect sunlight. The students will also make predictions before the second half of the experiment.
    Scale – the students will review the ranges of magnitudes in our universe—sizes, durations, speeds, and so on.
    Standards
    S1 Physical Sciences Concepts
    S3 Earth and Space Sciences Concepts b, c
    S4 Scientific Connections and Applications a, b, c, d
    S5 Scientific Thinking a, b, c, d, e, f
    S6 Scientific Tools and Technologies a, b
    S7 Scientific Communication a, c

    Scientific Processing Skills
    Observation will observe and record the effects of the on a thermometers wrapped in different colored cloth.
    Measurement the students will use the thermometers to record the degrees of different times of day.
    Inference students will use the information to make conclusions about the effects of the sun on different color cloths.
    Prediction students will make predictions about the how the thermometers will be affected by the sun.
    Communication the students will make graphs and write a paragraph about the findings of this experiment.
    Experimentation students will perform an experiment with the thermometers, different color cloths, and the location of the sun.

    Curricular Integrations
    English Language Arts through this experiment the students will understand the cause and effect relationship and write an effective paragraph about the conclusion of this experiment.
    Math students will construct a bar graph and line graph showing the temperatures of the thermometers wrapped in different color cloths under direct sun light and under shade.
    Social Studies review how people dress in warm climate countries and cold climate countries.
    Materials
    20 pieces of white cloth long enough to wrap around a thermometer
    20 pieces of black cloth long enough to wrap around a thermometer
    20 log books
    40 Graph sheets
    20 Pencils
    Equipment
    20 thermometers
    Procedure
    Divide the class into groups of 2.
    Designate a space big enough to hold two thermometers for each group and gets direct sunlight for part of the day.
    Instruct the class to wrap one thermometer in white cloth and one in black cloth.
    The students will then place the thermometers in the designated are when there in no sun. light
    The students will record the degrees on the thermometers after 30 minutes
    The students will repeat the above steps however this time the thermometers will be in direct sunlight and the students will predict what the thermometers will read before the 30 minutes is over.
    Students will graph the finds of the readings of thermometers under the white cloth and black cloth and direct sunlight and no sunlight.
    The pairs of students will write a paragraph of the conclusion of this experiment.
    The teacher needs to be walking around the classroom in order to determine if the students are following the procedures. The teacher will also need to provide guidance for the students.
    Closed Questions
    When is the sun facing the classroom?
    What do we use thermometers for?
    How do you read thermometers?
    Open Questions
    What would happen if we wrapped the thermometers in yellow and blue cloth?
    What color clothes should you wear in winter?
    What color clothes should you wear in summer?

    Assessment
    Student Assessment
    The teacher will assess the students by making observations during the experiments.
    The students will be assessed on the clarity of the data collection and accuracy of the graphs.
    The students will also be graded on the paragraph for spelling, grammar, and organization.

    Bibliography
    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education

    http://schools.nyc.gov/offices/teachlearn/documents/standards/science/es/18performance.html
    http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/online/chap11.htm

  5. Lesson Plan :

    The Earth’s Cracked Crust based on the Rock Cycle Activity of the Performance Standards.
    Lesson overview:
    This lesson focuses on the Plate Tectonics section from the 6th grade NYC Performance Standards. The lesson will explore earth’s structure and the effect on its surface while providing hands-on activities. Students will investigate earth’s surface in constant movement, the layers of the earth, convection currents, earthquakes and volcanoes.
    Science Themes:
    1. Plate – a large section of Earth’s crust and upper mantle that moves
    around on the plastic-like layer within the mantle
    2. Crust – surface layer of mainly basalt or granite, 5-25 miles thick;
    temperature 930 F
    3. Mantle – thickest layer inside earth located beneath the crust with a semimolten
    consistency; it can flow like maple syrup or be stretchy like putty;
    temperature 4,000 F

    Benchmarks for Science Literacy:
    By the end of the sixth grade, students should be able to see the rock cycle relationship to the theory of plate tectonics and be able to identify and label the Earth’s plates.

    Performance Standards addressed:
    S3 Demonstrates understanding of structure of the Earth system.
    S4 Demonstrates understanding of big ideas and unifying concepts.
    S5 Uses evidence form reliable sources to develop descriptions, explanations, and models.
    S5 Works individually and in teams to collect and share information and ideas.
    Scientific Skills:

    Prediction-Students will predict what would happen if they tried to walk across pieces of wood.
    Communication-Students will develop communication skills as they interact in groups.

    Observation-Students will crack the egg and look at the egg and relate it to the earth’s plates.

    Materials:
    1. Hard-boiled egg (1 per group of 4)
    2. Black felt tip marker (1 per group of 4)
    3. Appendix A: Earth’s Plates (blank copy 1 per student)
    4. Donald M. Silver & Patricia J. Wynne, The Amazing Earth Model Book
    5. Dinah Zike, The Earth Science Book

    Procedures/Activities
    Have students close their eyes and imagine standing on pieces of
    plywood that are lying in a muddy field. Ask students to predict
    what would happen if they tried to walk across the pieces of wood.

    Open questions for students:
    What is the Earth’s crust?
    Is the crust a single solid piece?
    1. Review with students’ prior knowledge of the crust and mantle.
    2. Divide students into groups and distribute the eggs.
    3. Discuss with the students how the earth’s crust is like an egg shell, very
    thin and brittle.
    4. Students will crack the shell by lightly tapping on the desk, being very
    careful not to peel the shell off.
    5. Students will look at the egg and relate it to the earth’s plates.
    6. Students will use the marker to carefully outline the edges of the
    cracked pieces. Then carefully move one of the broken pieces along the egg.
    7. Students will discuss with each other what is happening to the other
    pieces as one moves slowly across the mantle (white of the egg).

    Research questions for students:
    How do you think giant moving plates change Earth’s
    surface?

    Assessment:
    Students will label Appendix A: Earth’s Plates (student copy) to be
    turned in for a grade.

    Bibliography:

    Donald M. Silver & Patricia J. Wynne, The Amazing Earth Model Book

    Hirsh, E.D. What Your 6th Grader Needs to Know

    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education

  6. Lesson Plan for Butterflies

    Overview of the Lesson

    All living things have a moment when they become “alive”. This beginning is the starting point of an organism’s life cycle. Butterflies are one of the best ways for children to see a life cycle first hand. Students begin the lesson by seeing the second stage of the butterfly life cycle (caterpillar) and continue throughout the lesson to see the caterpillar form into a pupa and then emerge into a beautiful butterfly. From this lesson, students will know that all living organisms have a life cycle. This lesson plan is appropriate for K-3.

    Science Themes

    Systems- Students with identify the many parts of a caterpillar and butterfly and identify the stages of a butterfly’s life cycle
    Models- Students will learn that many things they play with are like real things in some way and not in others
    Consistency- Students will learn that not all living things stay the same. Living things change over time
    Patterns of Change- Students will see first hand the life cycle of a butterfly. They will witness the caterpillar form into a pupa and then emerge as a butterfly
    Evolution- Students will see how a caterpillar evolves over time to become a butterfly
    Scale- Students will begin to see that all things in nature come in different sizes and shapes

    Standards

    S2- Life Science Concepts: Demonstrates understanding of characteristics of organisms
    S2- Life Science Concepts: Demonstrates understanding of life cycles of organisms
    S5- Scientific Thinking: Scientific Thinking: Use evidence from reliable sources
    S6- Scientific Tools and Technologies: Acquire information from multiple sources
    S7- Scientific Communication: Represent data and results in multiple ways
    S8- Scientific Investigation: Systematic observation

    National Standards

    As a result of activities in grades K-4, all students should develop understanding of understanding about scientific inquiry

    Scientific Skills

    Classification- Students will be able to classify pictures of butterflies based on color, size, etc.
    Observation- Students will observe the life cycle of the butterfly from caterpillar to adult and record their findings

    Curricular Integrations

    Art- Art is incorporated into the lesson plan by having students draw the stages of the butterfly life cycle
    Language Arts- Students will keep science journals on their observations of the butterfly cycle. They will also write about the stages in their own words and perform research to find characteristics of each stage
    Reading- Students will read several books on butterflies such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar by John Carle, Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison, and La Mariposa = The Butterfly by Francisco Jimenez

    Materials

    Sheets paper, crayons, markers, paints
    Small journals for students to write observations
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar by John Carle
    Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison
    La Mariposa = The Butterfly by Francisco Jimenez

    Equipment

    Butterfly Kit

    Procedure

    Introduction:
    Begin lesson by having the entire class meet at the reading circle. When all students are ready, ask them what comes to mind when they think of butterflies. Let students answer and then tell them we will be able to observe and see how butterflies form from a caterpillar to a butterfly. We will have our very own classroom butterfly.

    1. Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by John Carle
    2. Introduce vocabulary: caterpillar, butterfly, pupa, larva
    3. Introduce butterfly kit and explain to the students they will be writing in their science journals and recording what they see a few times a week
    4. Go over life cycle of butterflies (stages) and characteristics of these stages
    5. Explain that all living things have a life cycle. Important for students to know that all livings things change over time
    6. Explain that the class will be observing the butterfly life cycle over a period of 2-4 weeks

    Closed Questions

    1. What are the four stages of a butterfly’s life cycle? Describe each stage
    2. What happens after an egg is hatched?
    3. Define chrysalis

    Open Questions

    1. Why do you think butterflies so colorful?
    2. What are some of a butterfly’s enemies?
    3. What part of a butterfly has scales? Can you think of another animal that has scales?
    4. How many types of butterflies are there? Are there other animals that have many types of species?
    5. In what ways are butterflies different from moths?

    Assessment

    Student Assessment

    1. Observation journals will be handed in at the end of the week to asses what students are writing
    2. Students will draw the stages of the butterfly life cycle
    3. Along with the life cycle drawing, students will write out the four stages and list several characteristics of each stage
    4. Students will draw and color in a picture of a butterfly and label each part of its anatomy
    5. Students will create a bibliography listing what sources they got their information from

    Teacher Assessment

    1. Look over journals and asses what students have written
    2. Come up with follow up questions to asses what students have learned

    Bibliography

    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education

  7. The following is a lesson plan developed from the “Weather Watchers” activity. This lesson has been created for a fourth grade level class.

    Overview of the Lesson: Weather conditions are important as they affect our everyday lives and our environment. Understanding the changes of weather and its effect on our habitat is important for students to understand. Students will act as meteorologists and record weather conditions such as temperature and pressure using the proper tools and then go on to graph the data they have measured and observed. The students will go on to communicate their findings with their group members and collaborate. Furthermore the students will be able to reflect on what they have learned by writing in their journals.

    Science Themes:
    Patterns of Change- understanding the changes of weather in our habitat

    Scale- is established as the students measure temperature and pressure and graph their findings

    Standards: S3- Earth Sciences Concepts: The student produces evidence that demonstrates understanding of changes in Earth and sky, such as changes caused by weather

    S6-Scientific Tools and Technologies: The student uses technology and tools… to gather data and extend the senses.

    S6- Scientific Tools and Technologies: The student collects and analyzes data using concepts and techniques in mathematics standard 4, such as data displays and graphing.

    S7- Scientific Communication: The student represents data and results in multiple ways such as numbers, tables and graphs… and technical and creative writing.

    Benchmarks for Science Literacy:
    By the end of 5th grade: “The weather is always changing and can be described by measurable quantities such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation. Large masses of air with certain properties move across the surface of the earth. The movement and interaction of these air masses is used to forecast the weather.”

    Scientific Skills:
    Observation- the students will observe and note weather conditions of the day.

    Measurement- students will use thermometers, hygrometers and barometers to measure temperature, humidity and pressure respectively.

    Curricular Integrations:
    -Mathematics: As students will measure and graph data they obtain on weather, this lesson integrates mathematics.
    – ELA: As students will be writing narratives in their journals, ELA is integrated into this lesson.

    Materials:
    Thermometer
    Hygrometer
    Barometer
    Graph paper
    Pencils/pens
    Crayons/Markers
    Journals

    Procedure:
    1. Introduce vocabulary: temperature, relative pressure, humidity
    2. Introduce equipment: thermometer, barometer, hygrometer
    3. Explain which instrument measures what
    4. Explain to the students the scales of measurement for each term, for example we measure temperature with a thermometer using degrees
    5. Break students up into their groups, and explain to them that they will be going outside to measure the temperature, pressure and humidity.

    Closed Questions:
    1. Looking outside, what observations can you make about the weather today?
    2. What is temperature?
    3. What is pressure?
    4. What is humidity?

    Open Questions:
    1. Ask the students to look outside from their seats, ask them what they think the weather will be like? Why are these your predictions? Have the group communicate and forecast the weather conditions outside.
    2. Why do you think the temperature might be different in different spots of the school’s yard?
    3. Why do you think the pressure may be different on top of a tree than on the ground?
    4. What may a high humidity count tell us?

    Homework:
    All students must take their results home each day. In the evening you will watch the news and see what the meteorologist says was the day’s weather. See what the meteorologist says were the day’s temperature, humidity and pressure. How were your results similar, how were they different? If there were differences between your results and the meteorologist’s why do you think there were differences? Please write all your responses in your science journal after your results of each day.

    Student Assessment:
    1. Each group will create a poster depicting all their results for each of the 5 days. Each group will share their findings and compare their results. The average for each day will be calculated as a whole class.
    2. At the end of the 5 days, describe what it is like to be a meteorologist. What are the hardships? What did you like or dislike? What might have surprised you? Write your response in your science journal?
    3. Write a letter to the meteorologist you watched each evening. Tell him about your findings and about how they compared to his/hers. Tell him how you felt with being a meteorologist for 5 days.

    Bibliography
    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education

    (http://www.project2061.org/publications/bsl/online/index.php?chapter= 4#bm_4BE5)

  8. Weather Watch
    Overview of the Lesson
    Through observation and selected activities, students will learn about the weather. They will learn how to use instruments such as the thermometer, barometer, hygrometer, compass, and wind meter. They will also learn how to measure pressure, wind speed and direction, and how to record temperature. Students will keep a journal on their observations of the weather and will also learn how to read and portray weather patterns by using a graph.

    Science Themes
    Temperature- degree of hotness or coldness of a body or environment
    Thermometer- an instrument used to measure temperature
    Atmospheric Pressure- pressure caused by the weight of the atmosphere
    Barometer- instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure
    Hygrometer-an instrument used to measure the moisture in the atmosphere.
    Compass- an instrument used to determine geographical directions
    Wind meter or Anemometer- an instrument that is used to measure the speed of wind

    National Science Education Standards
    As a result of this lesson, students should develop an understanding of:
    Standard 3
    Life Sciences Concepts
    C) Changes in Earth and sky- The student produces evidence that demonstrates understanding of changes in Earth and sky, such as changes caused by weather. Students show this understanding through their journal recordings and graphs.
    Standard 6
    Scientific Thinking
    A) Scientific tools and technology- The student uses technology and tools…to gather data and extend the senses. Students use a number of different instruments to measure and gather information.
    B) The student collects and analyzes data using concepts and techniques in Mathematics Standard 4, such as…data displays…[and] graphing. Students collect data on the weather and show weather patterns using a graph.
    Standard 7
    Scientific Communication- Scientific Communication: Represent data and results in multiple ways.
    A) Scientific Communication: The student represents data and results in multiple ways, such as numbers, tables, and graphs…and technical and creative writing. Students show their understanding of their data by writing about their observations and using graphs as visual portrayls.

    Scientific Skills
    Observation- Students will observe the weather for 5 school days.
    Measurement- Students will measure the temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, and barometric pressure.
    Inference/Prediction- Students will be able to make predictions about the weather based on what they see as they observe and what they hear on the news.
    Gather data- Students will be gathering and organizing data by keeping a recording of their data over time, and by creating charts and graphs.
    Communication- Communication skills will develop as students work in small groups to share their findings, create graphs, and make predictions.

    Curricular Integrations
    Mathematics is involved as students as students learn to record readings, and both interpret and create charts and graphs.
    Language arts will be included as children write about their predictions and experiences weather watching.

    Materials
    Thermometer
    Barometer
    Hygrometer
    Compass
    Wind Meter
    Chart Paper/Graph Paper

    Procedure
    Steps to Follow
    1)The teacher will read a children’s weather related book, such as A Drop of Water by Walter Wick.
    2)Students will be taken outside to observe the weather. Being out of the class should engage the students. The students will be asked to record what they’ve notices about the weather including the coldness/hotness, wind, clouds, etc.
    3)Students will be introduced to a variety of instruments. They will learn what each instrument is used for and will get an opportunity to practice using them. Students will also practice interpreting weather graphs.

    Closed Questions for Weather Observation Introduction
    1)What is a thermometer?
    2)What is a barometer?
    3)What is a hygrometer?
    4)How do we use/read each of these instruments?

    Open Questions Weather Observation Introduction
    1)Why is it important to predict weather before hand?
    2)How has the weather affected your life?

    Steps to follow continued
    4)Students will create a log for a period of 5 days about the weather. They will record their observations and measurements of temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, and relative humidity. During this time students will also make predictions about the future weather based on observations and what they hear on the news.

    Closed Questions for Weather Watch
    1)What does the sky look like?
    2)Does the air feel moist?

    Open Questions for Weather Watch
    1)How are our observations similar or different to our measurements?
    2)What do our results tell us about the weather?

    Steps to follow continued
    5)Students will show their results using a bar graph and discuss their results with a small group.
    6) Students will do a short writing activity discussing what they’ve discovered and learned from weather watching.

    Closed questions for Weather Watch
    1) What did the news predict for today’s weather?
    2) Was the weatherman’s predictions correct?/ Is the weatherman always right?

    Open Questions for Weather Watch
    1) What are some predictions you can make about tonight’s weather or tomorrow’s weather based on your measurements/observations?
    2) What are some other ways we can portray our results other than a bar graph?

    Assessment
    Student Assessment
    1. Students will be assessed based on their participation during observations.
    2. Students will record their observations and keep a log over a period of 5 days.
    3. Students will create a graph illustrating their results.
    4. Students will do a short writing piece based on their predictions and what they’ve learned.

    Teacher Assessment
    1. Teacher will read over student work and check for understanding
    2. Teacher may ask a coworker to visit the classroom to observe class progress

    Bibliography
    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education
    http://schools.nyc.gov/offices/teachlearn/documents/standards/science/es/57weather.html

  9. Lesson Plan for the Weather Watchers

    Overview of the Lesson:
    This lesson centers on introducing the study of weather to elementary students using different forms of technology and tools. Students will investigate the weather changes by observing and interpreting their observations. They will then be given the opportunity to use these skills in a field study where they collect and record weather data outdoors for five consecutive school days. The students reflected on their experience through narrative writing where they show their understanding of key concepts.

    Science Themes:
    Patterns of Change-Patterns of change are modeled as changes of weather begin to show changes in the earth and sky.
    Instruments- The students used instruments (thermometer, barometer, hygrometer, wind meter, compass) to collect data.
    Scale-Scale is established as the students measure the temperature

    Benchmarks for Science Literacy:
    By the end of fifth grade, students should know that
    The weather is never consistent and sometimes the weather man makes wrong predictions.

    Standards:
    S3c- Earth Sciences Concepts: Changes in Earth and sky.
    S6a- Scientific Tools and Technologies: Use tools and technology.
    S6b- Scientific Tools and Technologies: Collect and analyze data.
    S7a- Scientific Communication: Represent data and results in multiple ways.

    National Science Education Standards:
    As a result of their activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of
    -weather changes, different instruments, graphing

    Scientific Skills:
    Observation- The students will observe the weather for five consecutive school days and record data
    Measurement-The students represent each weather factor visually using appropriate charts or graphs of their choice
    Communication-Students will develop communication skills as they interact in groups and share their results.

    Curricular Integrations:
    Mathematics-The students collected and analyzed data and used the information to construct graphs.
    Art- The students draw graphs and represented their findings through their illustrations.
    Language Arts- The students reflected on their experience through narrative writing.

    Materials:
    Supplies-large sheets of paper, graphing paper, rulers, crayons and markers
    Book- Weather words and what they mean by Gail Gibbons.
    Equipment- thermometer, barometer, hygrometer, wind meter, and compass

    Procedure:
    The teacher will begin the lesson by asking the students what they know or have ever observed about the weather. The class will share their experiences with one another in a group discussion. The teacher will then read the book Weather words and what they mean by Gail Gibbons. The teacher will then go over key vocabulary terms such as compass, wind meter and barometer. The students will then be broken into groups and given an explanation of how to measure the weather using these different instruments. The students will then be instructed to record all their measurements and observations in a weather log over the next five days.
    Closed Questions
    A.In what ways is a compass different from a wind speed meter?
    B.Define a hygrometer and how this instrument is used.
    C.What do you notice about the weather today?
    D.Define a thermometer and how is this instrument used.

    Open Questions
    A.Give some possible reasons for the weather always changing.
    B.What was your favorite instrument to use during this experiment?
    C.Was the overall forecasted temperature the same as the actual temperature of the week? Explain your answer.
    D.Is the temperature the same in New York as in California? Explain your answer.

    Student Assessment
    1. Students will complete a written story based on their experiences with weather changes.
    2. Students will describe what life would be like if the weather never changed? Would people or plants be affected?
    3. Students will make conclusions based on their observations? Was the newspaper the same as your predictions?
    4. Students will record in their notebook the various ways of measuring the weather.

    Teacher Assessment
    The teacher will read over the student’s writings and asses what they have learned from this activity. The teacher will then have a class discussion to see what the children liked and disliked about this lesson.

    Bibliography
    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education

  10. Overview of the Lesson
    Children can become scientists as they explore the world around them. This activity is designed to acquaint children with solar energy by comparing the relationship between color of materials and the amount of change in temperature in the presence of sunlight. Students will understand the nature of light and heat as they complete the activities.

    Science Themes
    Systems: Heat flows from one object (the sun) to another object.
    Models: Students create models of absorption of solar energy by light and dark surfaces.
    Evolution: Water temperatures produce an evolutionary process of change in response to the availability of light and heat from solar energy. That is, it develops in small increments that accumulate to bring about significant change.
    Scale: The behavior of the water temperature will charted via scale. Students will notice changes in temperature due to larger amounts of water used.
    Patterns of change: Students will notice patterns of change in temperature via time, light and dark surfaces, and different water quantities.

    Benchmark for Science Literacy

    Inquiry and Process Skills should be an integral part of each unit of study.
    The application of these skills allows students to investigate important issues in the
    world around them. The inquiry and process skills incorporated in this activity are developmentally appropriate.

    Standards
    S1c Physical Sciences Concepts: Demonstrates understanding of light, heat, electricity, and magnetism.
    S4a Scientific Connections and Applications: Demonstrates understanding of big ideas and unifying concepts.
    S5b Scientific Thinking: Uses concepts from Science Standards 1 to 4 to explain a variety of observations and phenomena.
    S6a Scientific Tools and Technologies: Uses technology and tools to gather data and extend the senses.
    S7a Scientific Communication: Represent data and results in multiple ways.

    Scientific Skills
    Classification: The student collected and recorded data showing variations in temperature.
    Observation: The student observes the data in terms of temperature increase.
    Measurement: The student presents data in charts and line graphs.
    Inference/Prediction: The student makes a prediction based on the data interpretation.
    Communication: Students will communicate their findings to the group. They will also communicate with each other when developing theories of why the temperature changes in the presence of sunlight .
    Experimenting: The student will carry out experiments to demonstrate the variation of heat and temperature.

    Curricular Integration
    Mathematics activities are developed as the student presents data in charts and line graphs.
    For Language Arts, the student uses narrative writing to describe outcomes and conclusions.

    Materials
    Thermometers, watches, water, heat source (sunlight), black closed tray, black open tray, white closed tray, plastic tumblers.

    Procedure
    Problem to solve: How do materials with light and dark surfaces react to sunlight?
    Students perform an initial procedure and then follow it with two experiments, then (1) Determine and describe the properties of the covered black tray, black open tray, white closed tray when placed in the sun for thirty minutes.
    (2) Student will complete charts and line graphs, and use narrative writing to describe outcomes and conclusions with respect to the experiments.
    (3) Communicate a theory as to why the water temperatures in the trays differed.

    Open Questions:
    A. Discuss with your group your predictions as to what will happen after the water has been in the sun 30 minutes.
    B Infer how heat reached your open and closed trays. What evidence do you have to support your inference.
    C. Extension Activity (for homework): Suppose a friend is moving to southern Arizona or Florida. On the basis of the evidence from the experiments with the solar trays, what color car would you advise him or her to buy?

    Closed Questions:
    A. What is the difference between heat and temperature?
    B. How is temperature measured?
    C. How is solar energy transferred?

    Assessment

    The student applied understanding of the concept of heat variation via descriptions, observations and communications recorded on collected worksheets and verbalized in class discussions.
    The student produces evidence of understanding variation of heat by narrative writing describing outcomes and conclusions of sample extension activity.

    Bibliography
    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education

  11. Butterfly Life Cycle Lesson Plan

    Overview:

    In this lesson, students will discover the life cycle of a butterfly. Students will investigate the life cycle stages by observing a live butterfly as it develops in a commercially prepared butterfly habitat, and by accessing information in refernece materials. Students will record their observations in their science journals and report what they learn in writing and artwork.

    Science Themes:

    Systems: Students will become familiar with the life cycle of a butterfly and specifically the stages of the life cycle.

    Models: The idea of a model will be established by the live organisms being studied. Observing the actual caterpillar change into a butterfly will the model used.

    Consistency: Students will begin to understand that all living things undergo some kind of change over the life cycles.

    Patterns of Change: The pattern of change will be the actual life cycle itself.

    Evolution: Students will experience first hand how a caterpillar evolves into a butterfly through the four stages pf the life cycle.

    Scale: Students will be able to observe the change in size and shape of the organism as it develops during its life cycle.

    Standards

    S2a: Demonstrates understanding of characteristics of organisms
    S2b: Demonstrates understanding of life cycles of organisms
    S5c: Scientific Thinking: Use of evidence from reliable sources
    S6c: Scientific Tools and Technology: Acquire information from multiple sources
    S7a: Scientific Communication: Represent data and results in multiple ways
    S8b: Scientific Investigation: Systematic Observation

    Scientific Skills

    Classification: Students will be able to identify and classify pictures of the different stages in the life cycle of a caterpillar to a butterfly.

    Observation: Students will observe the life cycle of a butterfly as it develops through the four stages.

    Curricular Integration

    Art: Students will be asked to illustrate what they observe over the month long period.

    Writing: Students will be required to keep a detailed journal of their observations.

    Reading: A read aloud will be done with the book “A Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. The students will make predictions as to what they think will happen during the course of the read aloud. The class will also be given a number of other books to enjoy in their free time such as:

    “From a Caterpillar to a Butterfly” by Dr. Gerald Legg
    “Butterfly Express” by Jane Belk Moncure
    “Monarch Butterfly” by Gail Gibbons
    “Munch, Munch, Munch” by Norma L. Gentner
    “Caterpillar Diary” by David Drew

    Materials

    Butterfly Kit
    Journals
    Markers/Crayons
    Poster Paper
    Butterfly Books
    Computer/Internet

    Procedure

    1. Begin the lesson by asking the students about what they know about butterflies and their personal experiences.
    2. Document their responses on the blackboard and clarify the responses.
    3. Introduce vocabulary for the lesson (Pupa, egg, caterpillar, adult, chrysalis).
    4.Use the book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle during a read aloud. Have the students predict what is going to happen as the read aloud progresses.
    5. After the read aloud, introduce the Butterfly Kit to the class. Explain that during the upcoming weeks they will be observing and documenting the changes they see in their science journals. They will also illustrate what they see as the changes occur.
    6. At each stage of the life cycle the students will be asked to use the computers in order to research each individual stage. During their research they will have to identify the stage, what the characteristics of each stage is, and why the stage is important.
    7. After about a month, the students will be placed into groups of 4 and will be asked to discuss their observations, illustrations, and research with the other member of the group.
    8. As a group, they will create a poster with colorful illustrations of the four stages of the life cycle, the name of each stage, and three interesting facts about each individual stage. These posters will be collected graded and hung throughout the class.

    Closed Questions

    1.What are the four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly?
    2. Describe the characteristics of each stage.
    3. Define a chrysalis.

    Open Questions

    1. What are some reasons caterpillars need to change into butterlies?
    2. Do butterflies come in different colors?
    3. Are butterflies found in other parts of the world? If yes, where?

    Assessment

    Students should apply understanding of the life cycle of a butterfly through their journals, observations, illustrations, research, and children’s literature on the subject. Students will be graded on this lesson based on their class participation, science journal entries, and group poster. These activities should demonstrate their understanding of the lesson as a whole.

    Bibliography

    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education

  12. –Lesson plan template is from page 58 in the textbook—

    **PAPER TOWELS**

    **Overview of the Lesson**

    In times of economic hardship, how we spend our money becomes even more important. In this lesson, students will be asked to test the durability of 3 brands of paper towels in order to determine which is the strongest and has the highest value.

    **Science Themes**

    Systems – “Thinking in terms of systems implies that each part is fully understandable only in relation to the rest of the system.” We can properly gauge a paper towel’s quality only in relation to other brands. This comparison helps consumers determine how much or how little they put into the monetary system (by what brand they choose to purchase).

    Physical Models – “…an actual device or process that behaves enough like the phenomenon being modeled that we can hope to learn something from it.” Each brand of paper towels is a representation of the company that produces it. Testing the products allows us to learn which is the most durable and therefore worth purchasing.

    **Standards**

    S4
    a: Scientific Connections and Applications: Big ideas and unifying concepts –> what factors determine strength

    b: Scientific Connections and Applications: The student produces evidence that demonstrates understanding of the designed world, such as…the viability of technological designs. –> how well does the paper towel serve its purpose

    S5
    a: Scientific Thinking: The student frames questions to distinguish cause and effect; and identifies or controls variables in experimental and non-experimental research settings –> testing each brand multiple times, testing wet vs. dry

    S7
    a: Scientific Communication: The student represents data and results in multiple ways, such as numbers, tables…drawings, diagrams, and artwork…. –> tables, graphs and words to use in presentation

    S8
    a: Scientific Investigation: The student demonstrates scientific competence by completing a controlled experiment. –> successful experiment with data that can be collected and recorded

    **Scientific Process Skills**

    Observation – The students will observe which is the strongest brand of paper towel when wet (and/or dry).

    Inference/Prediction – The students will predict which brand they think is strongest and infer why the most durable brand is so.

    **Materials**

    3 brands of paper towels, liquid, items that can be used as weights

    (other items depend on experiment. examples: rubber bands, bowls, carpet piece)

    **Procedure**

    -Class Discussion-

    1. Discuss advertisements/commercials students have seen for paper towels. How do companies sell their products? What scenarios are used in these advertisements/commercials? What features do they highlight of their particular brand?

    2. What kind of paper towel testing can be done in the classroom? What items would be needed?

    3. Introduce the vocabulary: durability, value, ply

    4. Divide students into small groups and introduce “problem to solve.”

    -Problem to solve-

    Which brand of paper towels is the strongest? Create an experiment that tests the durability of all 3 brands. Conduct detailed and accurate testing in order to give a presentation on the brand with the best value.

    -Open questions-

    1. What are the characteristics of a good quality product?

    2. A bad quality product?

    3. What do consumers consider when purchasing a product?

    4. What does “having good value” mean?

    5. Which brand would you purchase and why?

    -Closed questions-

    1. Which brand can hold the most weight dry?

    2. Wet?

    -Additional Homework Activities-

    1. Test similar products of the same 3 brands: toilet paper, facial tissue, etc. Are the results similar?

    2. What process do products go through in order to be approved to be sold? Pick any product.

    **Assessment**

    -Student Assessment-

    1. Give a presentation promoting the most successful product. Show us *how* you came to this conclusion and use detailed graphs and data to support your claim.

    2. Write a one paragraph blurb on how else you would test the paper towels if your resources were unlimited.

    -Teacher Assessment-

    1. Assess the student’s presentation. What to look for: meaningful work that includes controls, variables and a graphical representation.

    2. Assess the student’s blurb. What to look for: creativity, thinking “outside the box.”

    **Bibliography**
    “Chapter 11: Common Themes.” AAAS – Project 2061. 24 Feb. 2009 .

    “Work Sample & Commentary: Paper Towels.” Work Sample & Commentary: Paper Towels. 24 Feb. 2009 .

  13. Overview of the lesson:
    The students will be receiving their own caterpillars and observing it go through its life cycle. The butterflies would be from a butterfly kit that comes along with individual plastic containers for the caterpillar, the caterpillar’s food and a netted habitat where the butterflies can hatch. The students will record their observations, either written or drawn, and any other research they find from other reference materials into a journal. The students will also create a diagram of the four stages and write a brief summary of each.
    Science Themes:
    Caterpillar – the larval stage of a butterfly
    Larva – the second stage of metamorphosis, during which an insect is wormlike and has new wings
    Pupa – the third stage in metamorphosis, encased by a chrysalis
    Chrysalis – the hard shell covering the pupa
    Metamorphosis – a series of developmental stages often marked by body changes
    Antennae – a thin movable sensory organ found in pairs on the head of a butterfly
    Proboscis – a long tubular mouthpart of a butterfly used for feeding and sucking
    Standards:
    S2a – Life Sciences Concepts: Characteristics of organisms.
    S2b – Life Sciences Concepts: Life cycles of organisms.
    S5c – Scientific Thinking: Use evidence from reliable sources.
    S6c – Scientific Tools and Technologies: Acquire information from multiple sources.
    S7a – Scientific Communication: Represent data and results in multiple ways.
    Scientific Skills:
    Classification – The students will be able to identify the different stages of a butterfly’s life cycle
    Observation – The students will be observing the different stages of a butterfly’s life cycle
    Measurement – The students will be measuring how long a butterfly’s life cycle will take and will be recording the length of the caterpillar as it grows.
    Data – The students will be able to gather information about butterflies from reference books and from their observations and record it into a journal.
    Communication – The students will be able to discuss about their findings in classroom discussions and talk to their classmates about their butterflies.
    Curricular Integrations:
    Language Arts – The students will be writing in their journals their observations and write summaries of the research they have found. They also will be able to read a variety of stories about a butterfly’s life cycle.
    Mathematics – The students will be measuring the growth of their caterpillar using a ruler or string and graphing it. They also will learn about symmetry, based on the butterfly, using paint.
    Arts – The students will create a colorful diagram of the four stages of a butterfly’s life cycle. The student’s will also create a symmetrical painting of a butterfly.
    Materials:
    The class would need a class butterfly kit, paper plates, a variety of macaroni, a journal, reference books, The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, A Butterfly is Born by Melvin Berger, and paint.
    Procedure:
    1. The lesson would begin with a KWL chart. As a class they would fill out all the things they know and want to know about butterflies. The chart would remain up in the science center as an ongoing chart to be filled out throughout the lessons.
    2. The teacher would then begin to read the story of The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle or A Butterfly is Born by Melvin Berger. The teacher would have a class discussion about what happens to caterpillar and how it changes. At this time the teacher can go over key vocabulary terms.
    3. The teacher would then introduce the butterfly kit. Each child would place some caterpillar food and place it inside the little plastic container. They would then pick a caterpillar and also place it in the container. They would label it with their initials and name their new “friend”.
    4. The students would observe frequently throughout the weeks and record their observations of the caterpillar. Depending on their age they could write or draw the changes the caterpillar undergoes. They could also measure the growth of their caterpillar and graph it throughout the lessons.
    5. The student would also research about butterflies in different reference materials about their physical features, the functions of those features, and about their life cycle. This information would be recorded into their journals along with labeled diagrams.
    6. When the caterpillars reach their chrysalis phase they would be transferred to the netted habitat. Student observations would continue. When the students have observed a butterfly’s full cycle, they would create a colorful diagram of the four stages and write a summary describing each stage.
    7. The student can also create a symmetrical painting of a butterfly. They could draw an outline of a butterfly and then fold the paper in half. When they open it up again they would pour a little paint (any of 2 or 3 colors) onto one of the sides. They would fold the paper and apply pressure on the top to spread the paint. As they open it up the paint it symmetrical on both sides.
    8. Toward the end, the class would finish completing the rest of the KWL chart of what they learned about butterflies. They could then get together set the butterflies free.
    Closed Questions:
    What does a butterfly first start out as?
    How many stages does a butterfly life cycle have?
    What do caterpillars eat?
    What is a chrysalis?
    Open Questions:
    How does a caterpillar feel?
    What do you think is happening to the caterpillar in the chrysalis phase?
    How do the wings fit in the chrysalis?
    Assessment:
    The students would be assessed through their journals and the creative diagram and writing of the four stages of the butterfly’s life cycle. The teacher could also assess during classroom discussions and their responses to a variety of questions.
    Bibliography:
    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education

  14. Lesson Plan
    Level: Middle School
    Focus Area: Physical Science
    Activity: Paper Towels

    Overview
    The study of the aspect of physical science in this lesson is shared with a certain familiarity that most middle school students will be able to relate with. Every child growing up has seen their parents and family members clean up messes using the number one go-to product: the paper towel. Thanks to the media and great lengths companies go to for advertising, students have watched for years, the different strategies companies will use to prove that their paper towel is the most durable. This lesson will allow the students to test each brand themselves and determine the conclusion on their own as to which brand was the strongest during the experiment.

    Science Themes
    System: The students will test the common, follow-along theory that is involved in the “popularity system”. Students will have the chance to prove whether or not society’s purchase of paper towels only due to brand name will be worth it or not. This system not only involves paper towels, but many other aspects. This will teach the students to think, explore and experiment products of all brands on their own, instead of following what is most commonly purchased. The students must be able to figure out on their own why one brand is the leading product as opposed to other companies.
    Physical models: all three different brands of paper towels (I.e. Bounty, Viva, and Sparkle) represent the physical models of which the students will hypothesize, test and conclude their experiment on which will be proven to be the most durable. The three brands also illustrate the physical nature in that each paper towel is literally made up of different textures and fibers, where each one provides a different feel/touch. The leading brand tends to have a rougher, quilted texture, as the other brands are slightly thinner in texture and less cloth-like.

    Standards
    S4a: Scientific connections and applications-big ideas and unifying concepts-the importance of understanding form and function.

    S4b: Scientific connections and applications- student’s ability in understanding the designed world-the student can prove their knowledge by explaining the importance of the paper towel’s design and what its purpose is.

    S5a: Scientific thinking- Questions to frame the understanding of cause and effect. Students will identify control variables in both experimental and non-experimental research settings.

    S7a: Scientific communication- students representing data and results in a variety of ways. Students can use graphs: such as a pie graph or bar graph. Students can use their creative skills in designing a display of the results in unique ways, such as a cartoon: the lizard is hanging in a paper towel hammock, which paper towel brand can hold him the longest without falling through?

    S8a:Scientific investigation- controlled experiment. A thorough investigation consists of data/results that have been acknowledged in ways that blend into the text. Evidence that has been relied upon to provide recommendations, decisions and conclusions.

    Scientific Process Skills
    Observation: The class will have the chance to observe the physical qualities of each paper towel brand, which one will be able to stand for the longest time without tearing under tough circumstances.
    Inference/Prediction: The class will be able to determine which brand of paper towel is the toughest and most durable through different tests/situations.

    Materials:
    Paper towels- Three brands (I.e. Bounty, Viva, and Sparkle)
    water
    water container
    smooth surface (a table)
    rough surface (a rug/carpet)

    Procedure: Introduce this concept to the class by using familiarity to assist in their thinking process. Invite the class to share what brand of paper towels they use at home. Ask the students how they have used paper towels at home and how their parents have used paper towels and allow the class to discuss which brands have been used more frequently by their family.

    Steps to follow/Problem to Solve:
    Testing the physical texture of each paper towel:
    1. Take each brand of paper towel and dip it into the water container.
    2. After taking it out of the container, drain/wring each paper towel so it is not dripping wet.
    3. Now wipe each towel against the carpet surface and see which brand has the fewest tears, if any at all.
    4. This will prove which brand of paper towel can stand against a rough surface, and which has the strongest texture to not fall apart.

    Testing the durability and strength of each paper towel:
    1b. Take each brand of paper towel and place it on a flat, smooth surface.
    2b. Pour the water from the container onto the table, only a small amount.
    3b. Wipe up the water with each brand of paper towel .
    4b. Pick up each paper towel and observe which one drips out the water the least, and which one doesn’t drip any water at all.

    Open Questions:
    1. What are the qualities of a good paper towel?
    2. What type of qualities are lacking in weak paper towels?
    3. What criteria do people use to judge which paper towels are better?
    4. Is advertising a good tool to make people choose one brand over another?

    Closed Questions:
    1. Which brand of paper towel held the together the strongest during the carpet experiment?
    2. Which paper towel had the least amount of water dripping from it when it wiped up the amount of water on the table.

    Assessment
    Student Assessment: Form the class into groups of three to represent each brand of paper towel. Each student will clearly present its durability and strength through both circumstances of the carpet experiment and the water on the table experiment. Each student will explain why their paper towel did or did not hold out during each experiment.
    Next, the groups will construct data-artwork to illustrate each paper towel under both circumstances. Every student will draw their own paper towel and how it resulted in each situation (carpet and table), allowing the students to present their explanations of the characteristics of their paper towel and why it did or did not withstand both tests.

    Teacher Assessment: During each presentation, collect information and take notes from each group. Record which students were able to clarify their product in the experiment in the most clear and understandable manner.

    Bibliography:
    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition.

  15. Lesson Plan: Erosion
    Grade Level: 3

    Overview
    What causes valleys to form? Why do streams and lakes get muddy after a rain storm? Why are the rocks at the bottom of a river usually round? The answer to all these questions is Erosion.
    Erosion is the process by which the surface of the earth gets worn down. It can be caused by natural elements such as water, wind, glacier ice and waves. Water is the most common agent of erosion because there’s so much of it on the earth’s surface.

    Science Themes
    This activity will demonstrate to the students the different types of erosion and the effect of ice, wind and water on the land. These activities aimed at increasing students’ awareness to the point where they can make intelligent decisions on proper land use in the future.

    Scientific Standards
    S3 Earth and Space Sciences Concepts: Properties of Earth materials

    S4 Scientific Connections and Applications: Big ideas and unifying
    Concepts

    S5 a Scientific Thinking: Ask questions about natural phenomena; objects and organisms; and events and discoveries.

    S5e Scientific Thinking: Identify problems; propose and implement solutions; and evaluate the accuracy, design, and outcomes of investigations.

    S7a Scientific Communication: Represent data and results in multiple ways.

    S7b Scientific Communication: Use facts to support conclusions.

    S7c Scientific Communication: Communicate in a form suitable to the purpose and audience.

    Scientific Process Skills
    Observation: Students will be able to observe how water, wind and ice affect the earth

    Experimentation: Students will be using various materials to determine the reasons why elements of wind, water and ice causes erosion.

    Communication: A form of communication will be presented as students will be asked to create a journal and write their results of whatever is being observed.

    Materials:
    Sand
    Newspaper
    Spoon
    Water
    Paper
    Pencil
    Box lid
    Aluminum foil
    Dry dirt
    Modeling clay
    Ice cube
    Notebook

    Procedure:
    Windblown Deposits: Students will be given, newspaper, dry sand in jar with lid, box lid, spoon, water, paper, and pencil. They will then be ask to Place the box lid on the center of the paper and remove the lid from the sand and place it inside the box lid near the center. Blow gently on the sand, and increase their strength of breath until sand is being thrown from the lid. Continue blowing for 5 to 10 seconds at this rate. In their journal explain what happen.

    Water Weight Erosion: Students will be asked, how does the weight of water affect the earth? With the dry dirt provided. Pour a cupful of water on it. Repeat on the same spot, but this time hold the cup from as high a distance as possible. Observe, how did the earth change when you poured your first cupful of water? How did it change when you poured the second cupful from a greater height?

    Glacier ice Erosion: With the materials provide: ice cube, sand, modeling clay, paper towel, pencil, and paper. Use the ice cube to press lightly on the flat surface of the modeling clay. Move it back and forth several times. Does anything happen to the clay? or to the ice? Now place the ice cube over the sand on the clay. Let it sit for about one minute. Pick up the ice cube and look at the surface that had been on the sand. Describe what you see. Then place the ice cube back in the same position and move the ice back and forth on the sandy surface of the clay a few times. Remove the ice cube and gently wipe the excess sand off the surface of the clay. Describe the surface of the clay when it was rubbed by the sand and ice. Can you compare this with the surface of the land when rock and other materials are dragged over it by a glacier ice?

    Assessment:
    Students’ assessment
    Students will be assessed based on their understanding of the concept of erosion and the elements that caused erosion, based on the information recorded in their journals. In addition to that, students should follow all directions given and work cooperatively with group members to develop an end result.

    Teacher Assessment
    The teacher will read over the student’s journals and asses what they have learned from this activity. The teacher will then have a class discussion to check for student’s understanding based on what they have learned from their activities conducted.

    Bibliography
    Peters, J., & Stout, D. (2006). Methods for teaching elementary school science: The fifth edition.

    http://schools.nyc.gov/offices/teachlearn/documents/standards/science/es/62erosion.html

  16. Grade 5 Biomes

    Overview on the lesson: the plants and animals where you live adapted to live there. In North America there are six large scale ecosystems called biomes. Each biome has characteristic animals and plants that have adapted to the conditions there. In this investigation you will prepare (color) two maps, one that shows the biomes in N. America and another one that shows the different climate zones in N. America. Then you will compare the two maps and draw conclusions on the relationships between biomes and climate zones.

    Science Themes:
    Measurement: Student will measure the distance between biomes and climate zone to show how they work together.
    Classification: Students will classify the different biomes based on the animals that live there, plant life, and climate.
    Scale: Students will chart temperature and precipitation and graph them to show similarities and differences between each biome.

    Standards:
    Based on the K-8 Science Scope and Sequence LE7.1a; S1.1a-c; S3.2a-c; S1.3; M3.1a

    Curricular Integrations:
    Geography: Students will be asked to identify the 50 states, Canada, and Mexico, and must be able to describe the biome it is located in.
    Math: Students will create a double line graph to show average temperature and precipitation throughout a year in all six land biomes.
    LA: Students will have to write an essay describing which biome they would want to live in based on their findings.
    Art: Students will color two maps that show the climate zones and biomes in N. America

    Materials:
    A map of N. American climate zones
    A map of N. American biomes
    Colored pencils or crayons

    Procedure:
    1) On the N. American climate zone map, color the different climates as shown on the transparency
    2) On the N. American biome map, color the biomes as shown on the transparencey
    3) Compare the areas on the map. How do they match up, are there common characteristics?

    Closed Questions:
    1) What is a biome?
    2) What distinguishes one biome from another?
    3) What are the 6 major land biomes in N. America?
    4) What biome do we live in?

    Open Questions:
    1) Why do you think biomes are related to climate zones?
    2) Why might a biome show change during the different seasons?
    3) How do the changing seasons affect the animals and plants living a biome?

    Assessment:
    Student will be asked to complete a worksheet that identifies all six land biomes, and they must be able to describe the characteristics that make it that biome. The teacher will go over all the data provided by the student and grade them based on a rubric he or she has created.

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