Thu May 02, 2013 12:35 AM
Good ideas for Community
I read this SciGuide after teaching the life science standards to my students. However, it has shown me how well I aligned my lessons about life science to the standards. I did lessons very similar to the sample lessons in the SciGuide. What this has taught me is how I could have taken those lessons even further. I especially enjoyed the lesson in Community called “How Does Your Garden Grow?”
I did a similar experiment where students had to answer the question of can a seed germinate without soil? They set up three zip-loc bags with three green bean seeds in each. One zip-loc had only water and the seeds. Another had water, newspaper, and the seeds. The last zip-loc had water, a paper towel, and the seeds. We made observations each day and concluded that the seed could germinate without soil if there were newspaper or paper towels. I would have taken the last part of the “How Does Your Garden Grow” lesson and had my students write follow up questions like other materials to test seed germination so they could write their own experiment and investigation.
All in all, this SciGuide has good ideas but some need to be tweaked to match your location. The lesson plans in the Ecosystems and Environment themes are state or location-specific. Living in Hawaii, I would need to definitely change it to suit Hawaii’s environment. Those lessons are also written for grades 5-8 which I found interesting because the SciGuide’s title says it’s meant for Grades K-4. They could definitely be written in simpler language with grade-appropriate activities more suitable for lower elementary. I’m just not sure if the title accurately describes its content.
Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:14 AM
A Good Grasp of Gravity
According to the HCPS III Benchmark SC.4.7.1, students must describe that the mass of the Earth exerts a gravitational force on all objects. This concept can be difficult to teach because of the fact that it’s not just asking to define gravity and its effects; it is asking why gravity is even present on Earth. There are many areas where students may have misconceptions of the term.
This SciGuide has helped me to better guide my students to discover that gravity is a universal force that only acts between large massive objects like planets, that is affected by changes in distance, and that the Earth doesn’t need to touch an object in order to present the gravitational force onto it. This is ultimately the concepts I would like students to come to understand by the end of our lessons.
As a result, my fourth grade students will have a better understanding of both gravity and orbits despite this SciGuide’s content being for grades 5-8. Thanks to this SciGuide, I have a variety of lessons and interactives to show my students to better understand the force of gravity and how it is exerted on various objects. The lesson plan on gravitational force and weight and the simulations of gravitational force and distance from Earth are going to be used the most from the SciGuide. My students will have a good grasp of gravity and consequently why the moon orbits the Earth and the Earth orbits the Sun.
Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:54 PM
A deeper look into inquiry
This SciGuide has given me such a deeper understanding of inquiry-based learning. We easily use the word inquiry without thinking much into the different levels of inquiry and how we actually want our students to become scientists. I am very much a culprit of setting detailed parameters of a task to be completed or setting up a challenge and having students explore that way. However, this SciGuide has opened my eyes to a variety of ways to instruct on inquiry.
No longer are “hands-on” activities enough, but the SciGuide suggests that students must be “minds-on” as well. I couldn’t agree more! If my students are engaged in an activity, I want to seriously consider what they are learning: do I want them to learn a process or concept? Upon reflecting and thinking of my own values, I want to build true scientists. I want them to be able to think on their own, create a hypothesis, test it, and analyze the results.
This SciGuide helped me to identify the various levels of inquiry within a lesson, determine the design process for students to follow, and helped me to see how to assess the students throughout their journey of inquiry.