Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

 

Katherine Callaghan

Bronx Leadership Academy II

 

August 2005

 

 

 

How can working together enhance the learning and doing of science?

 

 

 

This Lesson Plan would be best used when the students first work in their groups at the beginning of the school year

 

 

Do Now: Write for three + minutes: Describe characteristics of good group work.  Thinking of your past experience, how can groups work together in order to be productive? 

What are some of the things that can go wrong?  Why do you think working in groups is important?

 
        After 5 minutes of writing call on one student from each table and rotate
        Record answers on the board in two lists, one of things that work, and one of problems that can arise, and one of why we do it. 
        Explain to students that as they have said group work is important, but it can also be challenging.  One thing is to know the other students well, so we are going to do a quick listening and sharing activity: they will introduce themselves to other people quickly following teacher directions.  
 

Do minute introductions:

  1. Find a group of 2: Introduce yourselves, and find out their favorite ice cream flavor: you have 10 seconds.
  2. Find another group of 2: Introduce yourselves, and find out how many brothers and sisters you each other: you have 10 seconds.
  3. Find a group of 3: Introduce yourselves, and share your favorite pair of shoes. You have 20 seconds.
  4. Find a group of 3: Introduce yourselves, and share your favorite kind of candy for the movies You have 20 sec.
  5. Find a a group of 2: Introduce yourselves, and share the best thing that happened all summer: you have 15 seconds.
  6. Find a group of 3, Introduce yourselves, and share what you are most looking forward to about high school, you have 20 sec.
  7. Find a group of 5, Introduce yourselves, and share what is the hardest thing about school for you. You have 40 sec.  Return to your seats.

 

        Explain that as they may or may not already know, they will be in the same groups in each class for each marking period. 

        Explain role of cooperative learning in classroom and tell students that it is a great way to get to know each other, and their first challenge as a group is the following:

 

                                Have students re-seat themselves in new groups

                                Pass out puzzle pieces and tell students not to open envelopes

                                Reveal rules on poster paper

1)      The goal of this game is to make five perfect squares, one in front of each student in the group

2)      Each envelope contains pieces from different squares, so you must trade pieces to make them fit into a square

3)      You can only trade with one person at a time within your group

4)      You can only trade one piece at a time

5)      Trades must be an equal exchange, one piece for one piece

6)      YOU CANNOT TALK OR MAKE HAND GESTURES DURING THIS EXERCISE

                                Allow 20-25 minutes for students to play game

                    Walk around room to monitor game and remind students of rules

                    End game at appropriate time even if groups are not finished

                    Tell students to put pieces back in their envelopes by matching up the numbers

 

1)      What was the most difficult part of the puzzle activity?

2)      Describe a point in the task when the group started working better.

3)      If you did this activity over again with the same group, how could you improve your groupís performance

 

   Have students each share within their groups and have them write answers on poster paper to share out with the class.

 

  Have student groups share two things from their paper with the class.

 

   Ask class for how the activities we have done today helped us answer the aim for the day (summarize the class)

 

Have students copy down HW:

1) What is one thing you look forward to about group work?

2) What do you think will be the most difficult part of working in your group?

3) What are three things you might be able to do the make this less difficult?

           
 

Materials

Preparation

  Laminate puzzle designs

Cut puzzle pieces and number them and separate into numbered envelopes

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL TEACHING STANDARDS

 

TEACHING STANDARD B:

Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning. In doing this, teachers

 

*          Focus and support inquiries while interacting with students.

 

TEACHING STANDARD E:

Teachers of science develop communities of science learners that reflect the intellectual rigor of scientific inquiry and the attitudes and social values conducive to science learning. In doing this, teachers

 

*          Display and demand respect for the diverse ideas, skills, and experiences of all students.

*          Nurture collaboration among students.

*          Structure and facilitate ongoing formal and informal discussion based on a shared understanding of rules of scientific discourse.

 


 

 

Lesson 2

 

Background: This lesson is an exercise in group work, problem solving, reasoning, as well as an example of what kind of reasoning a scientist does. It is also a concrete introduction to open-ended questions with familiar concepts and ideas instead of more abstract biological concepts.

 

Objective: Students will understand the duel nature of science- both the inquiry as well as the reasons for following careful directions and taking careful notes.

 

Aim: How do Scientists Do science?

 

Do Now:  If you wanted to come up with the best possible recipe for a chocolate chip cookie to sell to Tollhouse chocolate chip company, how would you go about doing this? How would you prove to the company that it was in fact the best possible recipe?

 

 

         Have students discuss their answers in groups of 3 or 4, ask them to come up with one answer for each group.

 

         Have the groups share answers

 

         What are some problems that they found?

 

         What ideas seemed believable to the whole class?

 

         Explain how science is both creative (you want to come up with the best cookie) but also relies on arguments (you need others to believe you, so they have to be able to recreate what you did) and careful following of directions and note taking (you need to write down carefully what you have done so that they can then make the cookie themselves).

 

         Explain that we will practice this process in the following activity:

 

         Activity: Bridge Lab (you can shorten or extend this as you see fit for your students depending on how they are doing with it)

 

         Then have students present their proposals to the class and have class vote on best bridge. Have a short discussion about how this relates to future labs we will do in class, and how scientists go about solving problems. Connect this to the science fair projects they will be starting in the next week or so.

 

 

 

Homework (after day3): Reflection on BridgeLab

 

Please answer each question carefully and in complete sentences.

 

1)      What was the hardest thing about this lab for you?

2)      What would you do differently next time?

3)      How was this lab similar and different to the cookie scenario we began with?

4)      What did you learn about solving problems in science from this lab?

5)      What was one problem your group had? How did you solve that problem?

 

 

 

 

 

BRIDGELAB                                                                                 NAME:

                                                                                 GROUP MEMBERS:

 

A prestigious mini-bridge company, Naghallac Bridges, Inc. has asked our class to come up with the strongest, yet also cheapest bridge possible.  The materials that they generally used are shown below, along with their costs.  Your mission is to design the strongest bridge using the least amount of money, and then to propose to the Naghallac Bridges board about why they should chose your groups bridge. They will want to hear about how you came to your design, what else did you try? Why do you think your bridge is best? 

 

Their specifications are as follows:

 

The bridge MUST give at least 3 clearance from the table to the bottom of the bridge for at least 3 inches width.

The bridge MUST be able to go across a river that is 12 inches wide.

We are looking for a bridge that will hold as much weight as possible

Materials: Straws, cost 1$ each

            Tape, cost 1$/foot

            String, cost 4$/foot

            Wooden splints, cost 2$ each

 

 

The proposal should have the following pieces:

         Drawing of Bridge

         Cost of Bridge- broken down by materials needed

         Instructions for building bridge

         Weight that your test bridge and the test bridge the other group build held

         Argument for why your bridge is the best, what else did you try to get to the conclusion you did? What did not work? Explain how your group came to the conclusions it did. This should be at least one page long.

         You will also explain what you have done to your classmates.

 

 

 

 

DAY 1 Directions: Using the materials provided create the cheapest and strongest bridge possible with your group.  Record your thoughts, what you did, and instructions for building the best bridge in the world below.

 

 

 

 

1.   What does your group think will make the tower strong?

 

 

  

2.  How are you going to make sure that you have an affordable bridge? 

 

  

 

3.  How are you going to record your procedure, materials used, and trials and errors s that you can submit the plans to the company that wants to buy your bridge?

 

  

 

4.Once you have answered these questions, raise your hands to get approved to start the building process.

 

 

 

5.Start your experiments, remember to record below everything you do so you can argue to the company that you have the best bridge. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 2:

1. Before you submit your plans, you must do what any good scientist does- try it again.  To do this, exchange plans with another group, you will construct their bridge, and they will construct yours using ONLY the plans you have given them.

2. Were the directions good enough- did the bridge you made hold as much weight as the original bridge of their group?

 

 

 

 

 

3. How could they improve their plans?

 

 

 

 

4.  Return their procedure with your comments on it to them.

5. In your own group read over the comments. Your final proposal will be due at the end of class tomorrow. Does your group need to do anything tonight to get ready for that? If so, assign HW.

 

DAY 3:

1. Look at the comments the other group made on your plans. You have until the end of the period to turn in a final draft of your proposal, and make any final changes to your bridge. Remember it should include the following:

         Drawing of Bridge

         Cost of Bridge- broken down by materials needed

         Instructions for building bridge

         Weight that your test bridge and the test bridge the other group build held

         Argument for why your bridge is the best, what else did you try to get to the conclusion you did? What did not work? Explain how your group came to the conclusions it did. This should be at least one page long.

 

 

 

Then have students present their proposals to the class and have class vote on best bridge. Have a short discussion about how this relates to future labs we will do in class, and how scientists go about solving problems. Connect this to the science fair projects they will be starting in the next week or so.

 

 

 

Homework: Reflection on BridgeLab

 

Please answer each question carefully and in complete sentences.

 

1. What was the hardest thing about this lab for you?

2. What would you do differently next time?

3. How was this lab similar and different to the cookie scenario we began with?

4. What did you learn about solving problems in science from this lab?

5. What was one problem your group had? How did you solve that problem?

 

 

National Science Standards:

TEACHING STANDARD B:

Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning. In doing this, teachers

 

*          Focus and support inquiries while interacting with students.

*          Challenge students to accept and share responsibility for their own learning.

*          Recognize and respond to student diversity and encourage all students to participate fully in science learning.

*          Encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry, as well as the curiosity, openness to new ideas and data, and skepticism that characterize science.

 

TEACHING STANDARD E:

Teachers of science develop communities of science learners that reflect the intellectual rigor of scientific inquiry and the attitudes and social values conducive to science learning. In doing this, teachers

 

*          Display and demand respect for the diverse ideas, skills, and experiences of all students.

*          Nurture collaboration among students.

*          Structure and facilitate ongoing formal and informal discussion based on a shared understanding of rules of scientific discourse.

*          Model and emphasize the skills, atti