Forum Role: Participant
Active Since: June 12, 2020
Topics Started: 0
Replies Created: 21

Forum Replies Created

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 21 total)
  • Laura
    Participant
    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
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    Because > 50% of my students are English Language Learners, spending time having them drafting a report, getting and giving peer feedback will be valuable to both their science understandings and language acquisition. A formative assessment tool I used this past year during Remote Learning was Flipgrid, this is a program where students can video tape themselves answering and/or modeling their ideas and the video is shared only with me (or I can set it to be shared with peers.) I plan on using Flipgrid to have students show and explain their materials and methods. They then can give some peer feedback on whether their methods and materials will actually be repeatable and will help them collect the data they need to answer their question. I will be developing sentence starters and model reports for their 1st report of the year. I would like for students to have at least 2 opportunities during the school year to write scientific reports to submit to the BirdSleuth Magazine.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    A bonus to having your rubric written first. In a best case scenario, I write my rubric before I create I design the inquiry activity. This allows me to stay on track and helps me stay clear on expectations.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    When I taught 8th grade, our students first inquiry based activity was a "Conservation of Resources Case Study."  Students were asked to design a plan that use less of or save a resource by changing their, their families or another group's behavior. They were asked to implement their "plan" and collect data for 21 days.  While most students wanted to design plans that impacted their family, we also has a few plans that students who needed more support could do inside the school...i.e. encouraging people to shut of lights, turn off computers or recycle more. The first challenge was helping students to narrow their lofty ideas to a clearly defined plan. We would show students examples of past "Action Plans" and both me and my colleague, the other 8th grade teacher would model our own "Action Plan" for the year. The second challenge was having students identify their variables and write their hypothesis. We reviewed variables using examples in sports..."How do you know which athlete or team performed better?" What is being measured and how is it being measured. We then, again, looked at the Action Plan examples from previous years and I would model my hypothesis. Third challenge, collecting data...what was going to be the easiest but an accurate measurement that they could use. This is where I would conference with students in small groups based on similar Action Plans. ie. Students who were trying to conserve water when they showered...it was easier to quickly measure the inches of water in the bottom of the tub or time in the shower than trying to calculate gallons of water used. Fourth challenge, writing procedure clearly without using so many pronouns that their ideas were vague. To model a good procedure, we would have students write the procedure to making a "S'more in a toaster oven." We told students, anyone's procedure that we can follow to make a S'more gets to eat that S'more. We also told them, all pronouns, "Its" and "Thems" needed to be replaced with common nouns. Students would volunteer for me to read their procedure that I would follow the procedure. When students wrote, "Put it in the oven." The word "it" written on an index card went into the oven;-) Fifth challenge, students who DID NOT collect any data. Well, I gave them a copy of the data I collected from my plan. Sixth challenge, having students write their action plan. We gave a template to students and student's also had the previous Action Plan Case Studies to use as a model.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    The citizen science project I researched was Budburst. Budburst has a few Climate and Phenology Projects. I was looking at the "Plants and Climate Change" Autumn Color Change Project. I do have an account however, the database is accessible to anyone. Students can access the information, but may need help in navigating how to download the data in a usable format. Students can download the data into CSV format and upload the CSV file into CODAP. Once in CODAP, students use the data to make various graphs that could answer some questions they have regarding plant growing season and climate change.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield

    @Kristin Hello, I was hoping to use the Budburst Data in CODAP. Have either of you tried to import the csv into CODAP? It doesn't seem to be working for me. Laura

  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    Great photo! This year was my first year monitoring a nest. I had installed a bluebird nest box because we had a family of bluebirds nest over the past 2 winters, I am in Massachusetts.  The bluebirds used the nest box to raise 2 broods this year. But it also got me to thinking, I haven't really seen other nests, even though I have hummingbirds, cardinals, robins, catbirds and finches in my yard on a daily basis. I need to do some more research on where, when and how these species of birds make their nests.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    Hello Jenny, I am currently trying to write a curriculum unit for the other 6th grade teachers in my city. I have had a lot of experience having students do guided or open ended science inquiry.  However, most of the 6th grade teachers in our district do not have that experience because most of our 6th grade science teachers are also the 6th grade math teachers. The focus for our district has been on math, the math curriculum is very prescribed and takes up 70% of the teachers school day. Also, all PD offered for the 6th grade math/science teachers has had a math focus. So I have struggled with creating a curriculum that has higher inquiry experiences without overwhelming the other teachers who will get very little support or resources to do this curriculum. Your post reminded me that starting with activities students already do, and redesigning the activity to push to the structured or guided level. This may be a place that will help my fellow teachers with implementing the more inquiry based curriculum.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    Hello Jenny, My 5th graders do a water unit. I love your idea of having students make observations of all the water in their surroundings! I am going to "borrow" this idea!
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    I also think the idea of "risk taking," is so important in science.  Coaching students to stay open to what their brain's notice and are curious about takes courage.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    Starting each science class with a video, audio clip or photo and having students answer the questions, "I notice, and "I wonder," helps students practice their skills of observation and curiosity. One of my classroom "rules" is to "Be curious." I also explicitly talk to students about critical comments that can "shut down" someone's curiosity.  That we want to question one another in a way that keeps us in the conversation. Some questions I use when responding to student observations are, "What makes you think that?" "What does it remind you of?" "What else are you noticing?"
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    I choose Budburst. My 6th graders currently participate in the Harvard Forest Buds, Leaves and Global Warming Citizen Science Project, but as the facilitator, have participated in multiple professional development around protocols and data collection. I am currently rewriting our ecology unit to be more inquiry and phenomena based for our district which includes 10 middle schools and most of the science teachers also teach math and math intervention. I wanted to see if the Budburst app would meet the same goals as the Harvard Forest as far as inquiry, but with an easier platform for teachers who will have minimal time for professional development. I found the app quite user friendly, you can also upload photos from a computer. This is a benefit because less than 50% of my students have smartphones, but they all now have Chromebooks. Would have to help students identify different phenophases so data is consistent..
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    The quotes from the video that resonate with me are, "Want students to pursue their own curiosity," and “Building a positive classroom culture by showing students that you trust them to have good ideas, think for themselves, and to contribute in valuable ways.” In order for students to feel "safe" to share their observations and wonders; I need to model both these skills, give students ample practice opportunities and identify hurdles which are making a lot of students answer "IDK, I don't know" when asked, "What do you notice? What do you wonder?" Not answering their wonders, but praising them for their question and asking a follow up "I wonder," question. For example, showing students a 2 minute video of the bluebird box in my backyard, where I model my observations and wonders. Having students practice the "I notice, I wonder" questions as the opening of 2-3 classes a week. For students who answer, IDK," asking them privately, "What do you see? What do you hear?" And respond, "YES!! Good observation." to encourage them, that yes, their observations are valid. One benefit to reaching my whole class remotely, during the first 5 minutes of class students would respond to a video or photo by answering "I notice, I wonder," on a daily basis. I was able to go through student's observations and wonders and reading them aloud to the class and answering a few, which would elicit follow up "I wonder" questions. It also gave students who were reluctant an opportunity to hear more modeling of observations and wonders. I also love answering students questions with open ended questions.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    Photo on 7-19-21 at 8.08 AM What I found interesting, is the longer I listed the more sounds I heard. During the first 3-4 minutes, I was only recording a few items each minute. During the last 2 minutes, I was hearing so many sounds at once, it was hard to keep up with recording all the sounds I heard. Because we are such visual animals and are use to gaining so much information visually; students need to be coached to be patient as our brain readjusts to focus on auditory observations. A few observations I made which surprised me 1) how much traffic there was along the road North of my position. 2) The calling back and forth between the crows, which lasted for the last 3 minutes. 3) Constant chattering of the house sparrows.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    Starting last year, I will be looping with my 5th grade students into their 6th grade year. This gives me a great opportunity to teach them the skill of observation and wondering. In my setting I have noticed when students are shown a phenomena in the fall, i.e. fossils, rocks, video of animal behavior, UV bead and asked, "What they notice?" between 45-60% of my students will write IDK, "I don't know." About 65-75% would answer IDK, when asked, "What do you wonder?" Without students being able to answer the questions "What do you notice?" and "What do you wonder?," for themselves, science will always be "owned" by someone else. So starting last year, this became my student learning goal, to get 100% of my students to be able to answer these two questions for themselves, and to move from superficial or knowable questions to more "unknown" questions. The first thing I needed to do was to identify what were the hurdles for my students. The hurdles seemed to range from phenomena that was not engaging for my students; students needed more background knowledge; students were afraid of giving a "wrong answer," or that their observation/questions was "not a good one." For me, continuing to strengthen my students' confidence in answering the questions, "What do you notice" and "What do you wonder," is the foundation for my students owning their own interests and abilities to discover and will allow me to build activities that then incorporate the other science practices.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    For me, both , "Take ownership of quality data" and "Attend to the unexpected" are the two practices Iwhere would like to focus this year. By modeling quality data, showing examples of data and having students analyze these examples of data as to whether or not it is usable data and why; sets my students up to be reflective and have more agency and the background to be successful scientists. Also, by giving students time to practice the skills needed to collect quality data, a way of collaborating data for consistency. By being well planned, knowing exactly the student learning goals for the day, how I will measure student progress towards these goals, pre-teaching skills students will need to be successful - including prior skills, knowledge, social skills, using materials, describing roles; this will allow me to better be prepared to capitalize on the "unexpected moments." The idea of being a "co learner" with my students is the pivot science educators need to make to prepare 21st century learners.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    I have used the Project Budburst with my 6th graders, which I hope to help expand into the 9 other middle schools in our district.  Some suggestions I have for having students participate in this project are all about communicating with your school community about the project's goals and expectations:
    • Prepare students for going outside in all types of weather. I do this by having students draw diagrams of types of clothing and supplies that will make their trips outside to observe the trees more successful and pleasant. Each student's diagram goes home to families with a letter explaining the project and when students will be going outside.
    • Get your principal on board. Meet with your principal and explain what Science Practices and standards students will be addressing during this project. Be clear on how and when the data will be collected.
    • Speak to school nurse to address any possible health concerns - I have had students with different health issues, which required a second adult to walk to the playground with our class to make our observations.
    • Set students up for success, practice with the students inside the classroom, the tasks they will be doing when outside at the research site. I.e. measuring leaf size, sketching branches with leaves, identifying stages of bud burst
    • Be explicit with behavioral expectations.
  • Laura
    Participant
    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?"
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    Inquiry starts with lots of observations of your natural world. It also includes something in the natural world that can't be easily explained and causes someone to ask follow up questions. (I find with my students we need to practice answering, "I notice," and "I wonder" questions to both build their confidence in what my students notice and help them explicitly state their questions.) Then, one needs to coach students on how to ask a testable question and identify what information would help them answer that question. At this point, students brainstorm with fellow scientists and draft a procedure. Before starting their procedure, they present their ideas to other scientists, to get feedback and help with any problems that have come up. Students then follow their procedures, collecting data and observations. When students analyze data, they practice looking for patterns, choosing ways to present their ideas to fellow scientists. At all points during this process, new questions, wonderings can arise.
  • Laura
    Participant
    Laura Schofield
    8A33545E-DCEC-4A85-8F14-089F81361660
Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 21 total)