Viewing 33 reply threads
    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Choose a lesson you teach that you think falls along this spectrum of the levels of inquiry. In the discussion board below, please:
      • Describe the activity and state which level of inquiry the activity seems to be.
      • State the science practices you think your students develop through the activity.
      • Describe how might you modify the lesson to make it even more inquiry-based or more open-ended. What additional science practices might be supported with these changes?
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Ashley
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      ABloch01
      A lesson we do in Earth Science is Cookie Mining.  Students are given a budget and have to purchase a plot of land, tools, and permits.  They also need to hire labor. They then mine for chips, turn the chips in for a profit and have to use the profit to do land reclamation.  It's interesting to see how few kids end with a profit and in a lot of debt. We could probably make it more open ended by not giving them the hints at the beginning of the activity.
    • Frank
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      fduross
      One activity that I had my students complete was a soil testing lab.  I collected soil samples from 4 different locations, provided students with materials to test nutrient levels, porosity, and soil texture.  I then asked students to pose a scientific question, hypothesis, and then test that hypothesis.  I would put this activity between guided and open inquiry.  The science practices students develop in this activity are numerous, experimental design, data collection and analysis, and developing a scientific claim. Students have pretty wide latitude to experiment.  To make it even more open, I would have students collect their own soil samples from a location of their own choosing.  This modification would make this a truly open inquiry activity.  I also think this modification would further hone the skill of experimental design, students would have to think more deeply to arrive at an independent variable to test.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 26
      AmySenn
      When we are studying density we have a set of cubes made of different materials that students are asked to find the volume, mass and density for each as a way to identify the material. After reading the article, I am disappointed to admit that it is at the structured  level of inquiry- I provide the question and the procedure. The student needs to provide a solution, along with their evidence.  Science practices include:Using Mathematics and computational thinking and communicating information ( with maybe a little evaluation thrown in there!) From our first reading on Inquiry, I really liked the evaluating fruit inquiry.  I want to use the banana to explore density- I think that the students will have lots of questions and be interested in trying to figure out what is going on! After doing more inquiry with floating fruit, they will be asking questions and defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, constructing explanations. I will probably still have them work with the block at least some because of questions on the current 8th grade assessment for Science.
      • Laura
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Laura Schofield
        A Guided Density Activity I have used is called "Mystery Liquids." Give small groups of students 4 different liquids, dyed different colors. Students try to layer the 4 liquids so that they can distinctly see 4 layers of color. This activity is from GEMS "Discovering Density." Below is the document I give my students.  Screen Shot 2021-07-30 at 7.17.38 PM
    • ruchi
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      ruchi.rai
      While teaching about Photosynthesis we shared with students that there are few things that are essential for plants to carry out photosynthesis such as light, water and carbon dioxide, which was abstract for a student of grade 3.So we designed a guided inquiry on how following factors effect photosynthesis: we asked the students to take  pots of planted plant with almost same height and place pot A in a dark corner, pot B in the balcony but with no water for 4-5 days, pot C with plant covered with a polythene bag tightly sealed for 4-5 days and pot D placed in a balcony with constant supply of light, water and carbon dioxide. Students were asked to record their observations and draw an inference from the same.
    • Sue
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      SueWatts
         
    • Sue
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      SueWatts
      We just finished camp at the Botanical Garden where I work.  During this camp we covered some new territory for me. I have recently gained a more scientifically trained co-worker (I am a historian by  formal training and a naturalist by self/informal training) and she is much better at scientific experiment - I am more let's go and look and see what we find . We divided the camp into 4 themes water, earth, fire and wind. On the water day we talked about where water was on earth - in rivers, oceans, ponds etc. . We then set out to follow the path of a rain drop through the Garden - on the way we talked about normal water flow through our creek//pond//creek, what happens when there's too much water, how water interacts with the land - looking at erosion and deposits of soil.  At snack time we read a book called All the Water in the World and discussed how water that we drink is water the dinosaurs may have drunk. After snack we looked in the stream for macro-invertebrates and talked about stream health and macro-invertebrates as indicators of stream health. All of these activities I would say are confirmation activities. My co-worker introduced a more structured inquiry on the earth day by asking the students how soil was made. The experiment was filling a jar with rocks and water. They made predictions about what would happen if they shook the jar - they started to make soil. We could take this further by mapping the stream bed, measuring water flow, making connections between flow and landforms - how features are created by deposition or erosion. all the watermaking soil  
      • Bridget
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        BridgetL
        Wow! The picture  you included says it all!  The lesson definitely engaged the students!  I can only imagine what each student shared with his/her family on returning home.  I'll definitely have to check out the book you referenced.
      • Maria (Dede)
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        dpander37
        I can see that the students are very engaged.  This looks like fun.
      • ruchi
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        ruchi.rai
        This picture with all the students hooked  up to the activity conveys everything. This clearly indicates how an inquiry generated in the right direction can motivate the learners to continue with their learning.
    • Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      anne.durrance
      "I wonder which bird seed the birds in our schoolyard like the best." Place several bird feeders in the school yard.  Make sure the feeders are all the same.  Place different types of bird seed in each different feeder. Have students make observations on which birds visit the feeders the most - which feeder empties the fastest?
    • Jenny
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      jambud
      Currently, we are revising a project that we work on throughout a 4-month period although there isn’t more than 4 hours of dedicated class time given to it. Student currently are given a set of variables (e.g. Leg length, jump length, memory) and they have to pick two and come up with a question, devise an experiment, and write up their work as a scientific paper. I believe this is Open-Inquiry as students do create their own questions. However, students don’t have a lot of motivation for this project as they aren’t invested in the question they come up with, they don’t really like the variables we have chosen. Through this activity students develop scientific writing/communication skills. This is our main focus. Students also practice designing, carrying out, and analyzing experiments. After reading the literature for this course it strikes me that permitting time to repeat experiments to improve on them would be beneficial in addition to having a focus on developing a model for how the biological processes they investigated work. I also think if we move away from biologically focused projects where students take measurements on each other we would have more time for a repeatable experiment and we would have more thorough discussions about reliability of their data, as they often just say they need more data points. I would like to try to start this project with an experience or an observed phenomena that jump starts students developing their own questions rather then giving them variables to choose from. I am still not sure what use as that jumping off point though!
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Laura Schofield
      • My 6th grade students are currently involved in the "Buds, Leaves and Global Warming LTER Project." I have chosen to have my students participate in this Citizen Science Project, to help students practice the science practices. This is currently at the Structured Inquiry Level. Students are following a set protocol to collect data to help answer the question, "How long is the growing season in our schoolyard?" and "How is the length of the growing season related to climate?"
      • Plan and carry out investigations; Analyze and interpret data; and Use mathematics to analyze data
      • One way to make this lesson more inquiry based is to have students grow plants inside the classroom, measuring their plants growing and do controlled experiments to identify what variables have an impact on plant growth. Students would be given the question, "How do specific variables affect the grow of a plant?" Students would design their procedure, present procedures to peers for feedback, conduct experiments, collect data and analyze data. Students would be asked, "Does this experiment/your data answer your question? What follow up experiment would you try?"
      • Maria (Dede)
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        dpander37
        I love growing plants in the classroom.  I hope you do this; it is a great way to extend inquiry.
    • April
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      AprilWhitehead
      I am a "STREAM Lab" teacher, which means that I see all of the students on our campus once a week. In the year before COVID, I really struggled to adapt to using the pre-set curriculum that our district bought from Pitsco. Most of the activities are at the level of confirmation inquiry, and students are given a pre-written procedure to follow while gathering data. One of the most fun elements of my pre-COVID classroom was a wind tube that I built for students to use and play with. In this upcoming year, I am going to try and scaffold students through the levels of inquiry. For example, while reading the book "Rosie Revere, Engineer", we will begin by creating and testing paper helicopters (confirmation inquiry) and then modifying their shape (structured inquiry).  Next, students will be given a challenge to create an object that can hover within the top of the wind tube for about 20 seconds (guided inquiry). Taking the time to model, discuss, and generate questions can be a struggle for me since I see students for about 40 minutes once a week. I'm thinking about using something like a "Wonder Wall" or other poster area for students to share questions they have come up outside of STREAM lab.
      • Amy
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        AmySenn
        I like the idea of a "Wonder Wall".  I always want to encourage questions, but I need to not get too distracted in the limited time we have, but still want to honor the inquiry... just at some other time.
    • Lauren
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      laurenscull
      • I am an informal educator, so many of our lessons are open inquiry. At a previous outreach program, we would bring 3 animals into the classroom -- a cockroach, a salamander, and a snake. We would talk about each animal and discuss its life cycle, and how its life cycle was influenced by its environment. We discussed what kind of adaptations that animal had in relation to its life cycle. For example, salamanders needed to live near the water since their jelly-like eggs needed to stay in water to survive. When salamander eggs hatch, they are born with gills. With cockroaches, they can lay 60 eggs and we ask -- why? Why do they need to many babies? After discussion, many students figure out that insects have a lot of predators and, in order to continue on with their species, they need a lot of babies to compensate for the loss. At the end of the lesson, we give each student a picture of a habitat. Their job is to create an animal that could live in that habitat and explain why. They could even have a Pokemon live there, but needed to be able to explain why they would be able to survive in that habitat and what adaptations they have to make it  possible.
      • The science practices that are developed through this activity include asking questions, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations, and engaging in argument from evidence.
      • This activity was constructed specifically to be open ended and inquiry based. Even when showing the animals we ask, "What do you notice about this animal?" and "Why do you think it is this way?".
      • April
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        AprilWhitehead
        Lauren, this is an excellent inquiry activity! I really appreciate the inclusion of cockroaches - I keep a pet hissing cockroaches in my classroom.
      • Austin
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        austinkennedy612
        Hi Lauren, as someone who works at a Zoo and works closely with our Outreach Program there your input was very interesting and I resonated with your inquiry activity.
    • Jon Javier
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      jagjavier
      In the academic year that just concluded, AY 2020-2021, I taught four eight-grade classes on the fundamentals of computational thinking through computer programming (using C++). In this context the scientific process of designing and validating a proposed solution (which we call as algorithm) then implementation is termed as computational thinking, systems development life cycle, or software development life cycle. But really, no matter what label one uses, it is still the scientific process of solving a problem. One important programming concept we impart to the students is the logical control structure of 'decision' or 'conditional execution' (i.e., how to instruct a machine to select from two or several alternatives based on the result of evaluating a set condition). Before this lesson 1 of the virtual retreat, honestly I have no educational perspective name or label for the teaching strategies we are using to teach a programming concept other than 'coding exercises' (which form part of formative assessments), 'machine problem' (which form part of alternative assessments). Now I have words to use for each level of activities that we employ in our class and what learning we hope to reinforce: the four levels of inquiry (confirmation, structured, guided, open) The challenges of remote learning, where no face-to-face classes are allowed (which is likely to continue until at least December 2021) due to the pandemic, rendered as same subject teachers not being able to implement an activity in the level of open inquiry (wherein in the last quarter of any academic year we ask students to choose a concept from any of their seventh or eight-grade subjects which will be the idea for designing and implementing an algorithm for the small software application that they want to develop. decision
    • Kimberly
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      kmichellehowell
      This was a lesson we did in our STEM lab. The STEM Lab teacher had a leaf blower and a tennis ball, a whiffle ball, and a softball. The second graders had to predict which ball would be blown farthest. Once all three had been blown, they then had to discuss as a group the results in order to explain why each ball went as far as it did. The class then discussed what happened and why. This to me is a Confirmation Inquiry. The teacher did all the set-up, and the kids had to figure out why.
    • Catia
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      catiawolff
      • Students are asked to design a baking soda and vinegar powered car which seems to be a third level of inquiry activity. The students collaborate in groups to design, predict, evaluate, and modify plans to propel their cars.  Along with understanding the chemical reaction, stoichiometry is used to scale the quantity of reactants used in the various cars.
      • This lesson could be modified by having the students decide what other household ingredients could be used in place of the baking soda and vinegar.  They could predict if the alternative reactants are as effective or perhaps more desirable in providing the energy needed to move the car forward. Perhaps, have the students use alternative materials for building their cars to see if that has an effect on the distance and speed the car travels.
      • Students will further explore options and understand that products could be improved on by evaluating and redesigning previous prototypes.
    • Todd
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      CoreCyclones
      A lesson I teach that uses guided inquiry is about reaction rates being affected by factors including temperature, concentration and surface area. The lesson revolves around alka-seltzer rockets.  These are ordinary plastic film cannisters filled with water and alka-seltzer and sealed with a lid.  The alka-seltzer reacts with the water to produce enough carbon dioxide gas to cause the seal on the lid to rupture suddenly, sending the barrel of the cannister into the air.  Students time the amount of time it takes to launch these rockets and explain how changes in temperature, concentration and surface area affect said reaction time. After an exercise that explores these three variables (temperature, concentration and surface area), students are asked to do a more open-ended exercise. Students are asked to create a procedure(s) that can cause the fastest reaction time and slowest reaction time.  They can do this by testing and finding the "best" ways to get the desired results and defend the reasoning for their desired methodology.
      • Maria (Dede)
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        dpander37
        The "alka-seltzer rocket lesson" sounds like fun.  I like your extension idea.
    • Elandriel
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      elandriellewis
      Early childhood inquiry activities can be any of the 4 levels, even though this will look different than it does for upper age groups.  In a Reggio or Montessori-type program, inquiry activities often tend to start as more of an open inquiry.  The teachers are looking for what students are interested in the most, and then will design other inquiry-based activities that support learning goals through the subject of interest. While students at this age aren't designing their own experiments as formally as older students would, they still engage in investigating their own questions about objects provided as provocations.  In early childhood inquiry, scientific language is still encouraged though the depth of the investigation is limited.  For example, we may discuss the terms "momentum," "mass," and "slope" in an activity around balls but we're really just looking at a basic understanding of those concepts and how they relate to each other rather than any mathematical understanding. Older students (4 and up) can also participate well in Structured and Guided Inquiry that focuses on basic knowledge and exploration.  It's common to hear questions such as, "What do you think will happen if..." and "How can we figure out..." in a good early childhood classroom.
    • Martha
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Martha gardenbird
      We do an activity about which companies are more sustainable than the other in a sort of March Madness bracket format (Target vs. Walmart, Wendy's vs. McDonald's, etc). The science practices that the students use are research, communication, and fact-checking (this is really media literacy and/or data gathering). As is, this is a level 3 because I formulate the questions and the students can pretty much use any form of research to answer that question. One group compared the trash dumpsters on several days while other groups stuck strictly to internet research. As groups share out their various thoughts, the students can weigh a variety of evidence/data and formulate conclusions. We even compare initial thoughts and later thoughts about the various match-ups. The idea is that it is OK to change your mind based on evidence. It might be possible to get the students to suggest the companies to compare in the various match-ups to make the activity more student-centered. It also might be possible to ask the students where they would like to spend their money given these findings and/or to research careers around sustainability and green topics. However, these changes would take more time and frankly, since these are not necessarily covering more science practices, I tend not to. The skill of being able to make a claim and back up the claim with numerous pieces of evidence (CER: claim, evidence, reasoning) though is one we return to again and again throughout the year.
    • Darlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      DarleneKehn
      This past year, I tried to get my students to take a deeper dive into the common uses of household minerals.  I thought this would be a good way to understand the importance of the minerals we have in NY state. Students were able to use their reference table to investigate items around their house and guess which minerals make up that object based off of the minerals properties.  They also had the opportunity to ask a retired state geologist about the minerals in NY state.  They then used reputable internet sources after collecting data around their homes to help them confirm their findings and reported their information on a chart. I think this was a structured inquiry activity.  To modify it, I think it would be cool to bring in samples of parts of household items in lab and undergo the properties of minerals lab with those items to help them understand why those minerals are used in their respective ways.
      • Martha
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Martha gardenbird
        This activity sounds like such a great way of making the learning personal. How do you get students to research using reputable sites? Do you give them a list of sites you consider good or let them just google?
      • Maria (Dede)
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        dpander37
        I love this idea of household minerals.  Creating a chart for the findings is a good way to organize the information.  I also like the modification to bring in samples.
    • Russell
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      rfriedman1212
      As an informal educator much of my programs tend to fall under the Guided or Open Inquiry. One of our favorite programs to run is a Water Quality workshop where we take our participants into the field to actually conduct their own studies in local parks & preserves. We first pose a fairly open ended question such as, "How can we tell if an ecosystem is healthy"? Students will typically share similar responses such as mentioning the amount of wildlife, plants, levels of pollution, human influence, etc. We then continue to guide them to figure ways we can actually measure the health of an ecosystem. Learners will think back on their responses and together, form ways of study that'll hopefully help them form a hypothesis. We typically focus on the chemical and biological makeup of our study areas. We provide our learners with such resources as chemical testing kits and biological collection materials. Through this kids are able to experience hands-on, in the field research. They collect water samples from ponds and streams, they take note of the surrounding areas and they even collect macro-invertebrates to study the biodiversity. We will provide some data collection sheets and formulas if they choose to use but we primarily focus on connecting our learners to the space they are studying in. Through the research they gather and experiences they have we hope to instill a sense of appreciation and admiration for local conservation. At the end of these workshops, I typically have my learners gather back together to share their collected data. As a community of their own, they analyze their research and are able to form conclusions and hypotheses that'll help push forward future studies. We also give them the opportunities to then share this data with local scientists and agencies in hopes to help them build connections and form their own community of mentors.
    • Kate
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Mrs Studey
      When I was teaching 4th grade science, I did a lesson with my students on air quality. As part of that lesson, we looked at the properties of air and discussed how air takes up space even though it is not visible. For the inquiry activity, students had to develop a model that demonstrated that air takes up space. The question was provided to them, along with a variety of materials. However, there were no specific directions on how to create the model. The primary science practice for this activity was developing and using a model. The materials were very simple (ziploc bag, straws, tape, pipe cleaners, string, etc), but it was fascinating to see all of the different directions the students took. They could have simply blown up the ziploc bag with a straw and zipped it closed, but many groups designed elaborate kites to capture the air. It is one of my most memorable lessons from teaching that group. I think this activity was more structured inquiry because I did provide a specific set of materials even though I didn't give them procedures to follow. There is a certain amount of guided inquiry since students don't have those procedures to follow. In order to make it more inquiry-based, I would remove the materials and have them come up with a list of materials that they need. They would have to create a plan of how to carry out the investigation, including materials and procedures first. In this case, the students would use the science practice of planning and carrying out an investigation.
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      pkevans
      Last spring I had my 8th graders design wind turbine blades. Once they had their blades cut out they had to attach them to a post and test it to make sure it would spin. Once that was complete, they needed to lift at least 10 pennies in a small cup with their turbine going in front of a fan. The opening activity gave them directions on building the blades and turbine. Once they could achieve that, they were to design their own blades based on what they had learned. There was actually very little information given to them, as far as blade design and how to attach the cup to put the pennies in. I was amazed at the ingenuity of some of the students. I think this could be done with data collection and comparison of how the different designs worked, for better or worse! I think this activity is a hybrid of open/guided inquiry. They had the task and what they needed to accomplish, but little direction in how to get there.
    • Shelley
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Shelley_Metcalf
      During this past school year in our homeschool, we focused heavily on the science process skill of observation. (We do a lot of nature observations including observing, sketching, and sometimes dissections - so far only of plants and flowers.) We've also been observing and collecting/recording data on our ant farm. We've done several of the structured inquiry activities that were mentioned by others such as the water drops on a penny, yeast and temperature, density columns. We did the keeping an ice cube insulated activity that was mentioned as well.  Most of our activities so far would fall into the category of confirmation inquiry and structured inquiry.  To begin venturing into the area of guided inquiry, they designed containers for protecting tortilla chips dropped from a second story landing to the first floor.  They had to design their own structures from materials in the recycle bin and design and conduct tests to see which design would work best.  After testing, they made modifications to their designs and continued testing.  They also had to communicate their results orally in an informal presentation. I would like to develop more guided inquiry activities (especially from “I wonder” questions) and to focus on the skills of communicating results (both written and oral) and continue to develop further skills in recording data (including graphing and charts) and use science notebooks to record the whole process.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Sci8Lilly
      One of my favorite activities for students to conduct is to observe yeast reproduction and infer how temperature will affect it.  Clearly, it is structured inquiry because students are given a problem to solve but there are procedures they are to follow.  Their results depend on how well they communicate, work together,  follow the steps, record their observations, and reach a conclusion.  The lesson could be easily modified to allow students to determine the temperature range or test other factors such as the amount of sugar used for budding (asexual reproduction) to take place.   I attached a picture that I used this past year when students were not able to conduct the experiment themselves.  I also included videos of the process for students to have a better appreciation.  There were still able to measure the height of foam which indicated the rate of budding.  I am looking forward to a school year for students to be able to do any kind of inquiry.3F93F10A-BB4E-4EFC-89D0-2F7A2FB4903F
    • David
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      lumpydave84
      I have one lesson that I love that is a "classic misdirection" for the students.  This is done in my AP Environmental Science class.  I receive albatross boluses from USFWS that are unfortunately heavily contaminated with plastic pollution.  The misdirection is because I set the whole lesson up as if we are doing a similar lab investigation as the Owl Pellet lab, where students can calculate biomass and get an idea of how energy flows in a terrestrial system... so they think it is the same type of lesson (this time counting squid beaks instead of rodent skulls) just for a marine system.  Once the groups go to the back and get started on their boluses one by one the questions start rolling in... what is this?  Is this plastic? and so on.  I then tell the class that this is not a lesson about marine energy transfers (so they diligent students can stop counting the squid beaks) and that it is indeed a lesson about plastic pollution.  The questions become more pointed and thought out... where does the plastic come from? why would the birds each plastic? etc.  This then leads to great discussions and to the most important question of all which is "What can I do about it?"
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        pkevans
        I really like this activity! It is sad that this is happening though, but it has to be an eye opener for the students.
      • Amy
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        AmySenn
        Thank you for the Bolus Program information- looks very interesting.  Are they still distributing boluses?
    • Rachel
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      restendahl
      My watershed education program is heavily centered around water quality monitoring, specifically looking at whether the site is healthy salmon habitat. All of my classes go out to a site to monitor the water twice a year.  This activity appears to be structured inquiry. The students are given different parameters to test and the appropriate testing kits. The students carry out the investigation following the directions  and using the tests that are given. Then the students find out if the water quality is good or bad for salmon based on known water quality ranges. They then share their results with their classmates and have discussions on what could potentially be affecting the water quality and ways that they could improve water quality at their site. Some science practices that students develop through these activities are analyzing and interpreting data, constructing an explanation and designing a solution. Teachers could modify the lessons to make them more inquiry based by letting the students research what water quality issues affect salmon in advance and let them decide what issues they want to test for and how they want to test for those water quality parameters which would give them more experience in asking questions and defining problems as well as planning and carrying out investigations,
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      mgerhardt
      Enjoyed reading about other's activities. The lab that came to mind was NY state mandated lab on diffusion.  Skills include use of indicators and slide prepartion.  I would say it is a confirmation inquiry. But some introductory or supplementary options could allow it to be more inquiry based.  I was thinking different solutions, indicators, membranes could be available.  Then I read  Kristen's gummy bear lab that  would be a great addition , thanks for reminding of that activity, I some use it as demonstration.
    • Kristin
      Participant
      Chirps: 28
      KristinBlack829
      Like some of the other responses, this lab activity is done at the beginning of the year. I've seen it called "Gummy Bear Osmosis" in other settings, but we don't discuss osmosis when doing this. I use this lab activity primarily to get an idea of the students' comfort level with identifying variables and sources of error, taking and recording measurements, how well they can work in a group, etc. I provide the question ("How will Gummy Bears react when placed in different liquids?"), the materials, and a chart to record their observations. I would say this lands somewhere between structured and guided inquiry, since there is a defined procedure, yet the kids are able to choose what types of liquids they want to investigate and what materials they will use for recording mass and length. Through this activity, the students carry out an investigation, analyze and interpret data, and explain their results. I could make this activity more solidly in the guided level by removing the step-by-step procedure and provided observation chart and give the students more freedom with their set up and how they measure the reaction. Maybe they would choose to observe changes in color or texture if they weren't told the specifically focus on mass and length. :)  I also could incorporate more opportunities for sharing with their peers, rather than just turning in a lab report to me. These changes would provide them with more practice in planning investigations, interpreting data, and communicating information.
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        pkevans
        This sounds like a great activity for the start of the year. Where could I find the instructions?
      • Kristin
        Participant
        Chirps: 28
        KristinBlack829

        @Pam Hi Pam!  I can send you the procedures I use. You can find many varieties of this activity online by searching "Gummy Bear Osmosis". I picked components from several versions and added some things of my own to make it work for what I wanted to do. I'll email you at the address listed in the course community notes doc.

    • Maria (Dede)
      Participant
      Chirps: 74
      dpander37
      Drops on a penny is a simple beginning inquiry activity that starts with a structured teacher question; "how many drops of water fit on one side of a penny?". The students follow the procedure of dropping drops of water onto the penny several times and recording their results and then sharing data with the class. The class average can be measured in this way. This activity falls at level 2- Structured Inquiry. I have used this lesson many times as a fun introduction to inquiry. Students develop the ability to follow procedures, record data, share data with the class, and calculate a class mean. I could modify this lesson by having students come up with their own questions to investigate, share their ideas with the class and vote on a class question to work on.  Then, students could brain storm on possible hypotheses or answers and how to test them. Finally, small student groups could test out their ideas with teacher approval and share their results.
    • Lori
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      MPBirding
      One experiment I do at the beginning of the school year is looking at how the amount of water can impact the growth of radish seeds. Students are given the question and then are asked to design an experiment, create a data table to record their observations, collect data over 2 weeks, graph their results, and develop and share their conclusions. Throughout this process we work together at each step on different scientific skills (research, data collection, graphing, etc.) I would classify this as guided inquiry. Students receive a lot of feedback along the way to support the process to develop the skills they will need in future experiments throughout the year. Skills focused on are research, observations (measurements), data collection, graphing, analyzing data, collaboration, problem solving. I am hoping to modify this experiment this coming school year by providing the students with a problem and a broader question that encourages them to develop their own questions and experiments. We have a school garden that our Middle School students work in that I would like to connect to. Instead of all students having the same question, I would like to present them with a problem we are having in the school garden and let them develop their own questions. I think this would create more interest in the project as they are able to see the direct connection to the garden and our community project.
    • Bridget
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      BridgetL
      In my 5th Grade class we read, as a class, "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.  We read the book two chapters at a time, take time at after each section to not only reflect on what we had read/learned, but to wonder about what was to come.  As the story progressed the students also took time to think about a variety of questions: How would William's life improve if he was successful in his creations?  What items would be most beneficial for him to find in the dump?  What would be the best way for him to use them? How did the weather conditions of the area he lived make things challenging?  The students truly came alive as we took the time to ponder before continuing to read.  It was almost as if they were working side-by-side with William.  One student even commented, "I didn't know a book could be read like this!" Unfortunately COVID restrictions did not allow for an experiments to be carried out, but in future years I would like to incorporate the students having access to their own 'dump' to gather items to build a windmill so they could experience some of the things that William did and understand his love for science and learning by being able to make mistakes and therefore improvements!
      • April
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        AprilWhitehead
        Bridget, I use the picture book version with my 3rd and 4th graders! Such an inspiring story, and it gives students a chance to connect with William as he builds the windmill.
      • Bridget
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        BridgetL

        @April I'll have to get a copy of that version of the book!

      • Kristin
        Participant
        Chirps: 28
        KristinBlack829
        I love that book. Not only for its STEM and inquiry applications, but it's also just eye opening for how some people live. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't read it, but his personal accounts of his first time experiencing some things outside of his native village/country were very humbling.
    • Stephanie
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      stephertan
      I taught a lesson last year where students had to design a parachute system to slow a lander as it descended towards Mars.  We  were working with an imagined model of a lander and payload (a cardboard tube with 16 paperclips attached). Students had to drop the tube from a 2 meter height and record the time it took to fall without any parachute system. They then had a limited supply of materials and a weight limit as constraints as they designed, built, and tested various parachute systems. Final designs were tested at the 2 meter height then again at a 3 meter height. While this is more of an engineering lesson than anything else, I think it falls between the structured and guided inquiry levels of inquiry. Students were told what the desired outcome was, given a specific set of parameters and materials, then they were given room to work. They were NOT given a strict set of steps to follow in the designing of their parachutes, nor were they really ever told to make a "parachute" per say...just to make the vehicle descend more slowly. The scientific principles in this lesson were developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, and analyzing and interpreting data. If I were going to amend this lesson to make it more of an open inquiry lesson I would probably have the students start by exploring the designs of various descent systems on existing vehicles designed for space. Maybe we'd look at videos, photographs, or scale models. I'd then have them devise "I Wonder" questions about a descent system for a vehicle landing on Mars. They could then self-design a plan for testing their most engaging question.
    • Austin
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      austinkennedy612
      We do not teach formal education so a purely science based program isn't run as often as schools. One of our students favorite activities is a part of our Raptor workshop when we talk about DDT and egg shells. I believe this activity as it stands now is a Structured Inquiry. For this activity we have previously talked about the effects of DDT on eggs of bald eagles. We invite the teens to brainstorm WHAT those effects might be, and eventually they settle on it effecting the egg shell, but to what degree is not known yet. From there we take a fresh egg and place it in a clear rubbemaid bin sandwiched between two Magic Erasers and set another tub on top to apply some pressure to the egg. We ask the students if they think this healthy shell can sustain weight, how much weight, and what the weight threshold might be for a single egg. Next, the students one by one get to come up and place a rock on the bin to apply more pressure to the egg. The question was presented by us educators but the students have to attempt to find a solution and an answer through a procedure that has already been dictated. The science practices that the students learn through all this is dependent on where they take it but we always manage to spend time talking about WHERE are the eagles picking up DDT and what compounds are in DDT that affect the birds enough to produce thinning egg shells that won't make it through incubation. The students talk about the food chain and bimoagnification and pose questions about why it effects raptors more than other birds. In order to bring more inquiry based learnign to this activity I'd like to move in to "guided inquiry" and take away the procedure piece and allow the teens to utilize the resources in the classroom to test the egg shell. Let them experiment with testing the thresholds of eggs. We've only ever tested healthy eggs, I'd also like to pose a question on if they think they can similuate a less healthy, DDT impacted egg. I pose the question, they pose the procedure and the solution. In order to bring more science practices to this activity I would ask them to journal their findings as they create them. Instead of a full class demonstration they could do this in groups and have multiple eggs to experiement with. This gives them the freedom to investigate and test theories.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      binouser
      I do not teach science on a regular basis in my classroom.  We switch classes and another teacher teaches Science to my class.  This past year due to Covid restrictions, I led my students in inquiry based experiment. This past year, I chose an experiment with Structured Inquiry. What will prevent ice from melting?  Each student had their own plastic container and we covered the ice with the material the students brought from home.  We set them outside in the sun.  We had one container with only ice.    We were able to perform the experiment three different days. Science practices:  Observation, recordings, analyzing. Modifications I would make: provide more practice in writing down observations and describing small changes.     We would perform throughout the day to see if that made a difference in the material.   I would also have the students communicate their results with others.  I would also allow my students to try different containers.  (They were wanting to test out their personal refillable water bottles to see who had the best one for keeping the ice intact and their water cold.
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