Zhengyun Lu

Learning how to teach science.



Recent Reviews by Zhengyun

Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:15 PM
5 Hypothesis Testing
This is an article about hypothesis testing. Many students may seek affirmation from others to ensure their hypothesis. The author wants to tell students it is OK to have mistaken. Do not be embarrassed by being wrong. The article takes an example of Priestley, a famous chemist. He had wrong in his prediction of the survival condition green plant in a sealed jar with burning candle. Fortunately, it facilitated the important discoveries of oxygen and photosynthesis. “The accuracy of the hypothesis has no impact on what can be learned from the investigation. It’s the outcome that matters, not the predicted outcome” (Davis & Coskie, 2009). The authors record a testing hypothesis about “Do beans need light to grow” for grade 5-6. Firstly, students need to learn how to write a hypothesis. They can write a brief paragraph or even a sentence about their prediction in their science textbooks. Make sure to include a reason. During the three weeks, students should water the plants, make drawings, and collect data. After that, students need to harvest the plants and measure the aboveground mass using a digital scale. Then, constructing a simple bar graph to analyze data. Teachers will encourage students to see if the result is similar to their hypothesis and write a conclusion statement using the supported or unsupported language. As an extension, the teacher can ask students to think about other factors which can affect the growth of beans. They can also formulate a new hypothesis about other questions, such as “Where does the nutrition come from”. Obviously, making hypothesis is difficult for low grades students. Therefore, they can choose to write a simple prediction and share their ideas. However, data collection should include side-by-side drawing and measurements.

Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:13 PM
5 Dealing with Data
I read an article named Dealing with data this week. Students should have more opportunities to work with data. It helps them to connect science instruction to real-world issues. The author mentioned those data-related activities are necessary for a science teacher. Students can learn to collect data from observation and measurement. The teacher will encourage students to deal with data using diverse ways and tools. Therefore, they can interpret and draw conclusion better. “Organizing collected data can be done through a chart, diagram, graph, report, or table. Written descriptions and pictorial representations are also options” (Royce, 2003). A strategy in this article is trade book–inspired investigations. Topics like hottest, coldest, highest, and deepest can engage students to know about measurement. So that, these topics can be an introduction to collecting data. The author divides students into two parts: grades k-3 and grades 4-6. Organizing data in the elementary classroom can be designed as daily data activities. A topic like favorite foods is appropriate for kids. The teacher will encourage the class to discuss the best way to organize the data. Guidance is essential and developing a bar graph is a common tool to interpret data. The teacher can provide each student with a sticky note and encourage student to place it on the graph. After constructing the graph, students should be allowed to have time to discuss their findings about their favorite foods. In addition, a prediction of tomorrow’s weather is a good topic for the age level. As for students at grades four to six, delving into data is necessary. Students in upper elementary need to delve further into data through their own experiments. Teachers should identify their own research questions which can be used to collect data. Dealing with data not only help students think about information differently but also connects mathematics skills to science. A scientific thinking can be constructed.

Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:06 PM
5 Identifying Variables
Helping students to identify variables in experiments is essential for learning science. This article provides a view of inquiry boards including eight boards. The first one is brainstorm variables. The teacher will describe the problem to students at the beginning. Inventing a story about the question can draw students’ attention. The teacher created baggie gardens with students to test their ideas. Students brainstorm and share their thoughts about the answers. Each suggestion is written on a stick note and placed at a proper position. The second part is choosing variables. Students choose one variable to investigate. The teacher will move the note to the inquiry board. It is a visual demonstration of how one factor changed affects the whole experiment. Then, students are encouraged to think about a question like “When I change __, what happens to __?” Meanwhile, they should decide what can be measured. All predictions are accepted, and logical explanation is needed. Setting up the experiment inquiry board can help students have a visual recognition of the experiment. Recording observations is necessary to produce a table of results. The table should contain manipulated variable and responding variable. After that, students will look for patterns and graph of results. Answering questions which they thought before facilitates their understanding of the logical flow of an experiment. The ways from this article are useful to students to identify variables in experiments. The completed procedure helps students understand what variables are and how they work in learning science.