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, speak to the following core decisions. What I plan to cover parts of multiple standards from the NSTA Framework for Science Education in this lesson. They are as follows… Scientific Practices 1. Asking questions and defining problems 3. Planning and carrying out an investigation 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information I will also move into the fourth scientific practice of “analyzing and interpreting data” in the subsequent lesson for math. Crosscutting Concepts 1. Patterns 3. Scale, proportion and quantity These standards are pretty general, so more specifically I plan to have my students engage in a scientific process of inquiry by closely examining and categorizing different rice, grains and pasta. I want them to think creatively about different characteristics based on which the materials can be divided and engage multiple senses in this process (sight, touch, smell, but NOT taste). I also want them to think creatively about the tools that they have available to them and those that they can create in order to standardize and define categories of division. I also want them to demonstrate the ability to respectfully and responsibly work with small and potentially easily mismanaged materials. This is definitely an apprehension that I have going into this lesson in terms of using such small materials for investigation and the possibility that they will be lost, spilled or generally misused. However, I am confident that if prefaced properly and with expectations clearly presented and maintained, the students will do fine with this. I also want them to be able to use a process of investigation to identify mystery items and pasta based on their previous classifications. Finally, I want them to be able to articulate their findings and thought process and listen to, learn from and find inspiration in the ideas of their peers. How My primary method of teaching will be independent and paired investigation on the part of the students. This will be supported by me continuing to question individuals, pairs and the whole (small) group. This questioning will be a vehicle for providing seed ideas to the students and encouraging depth in thought and investigation. I will not do much direct instruction but through the structuring of my materials will provide a great deal of preliminary information and support. I will give them multiple vehicles through which to organize their materials and thoughts to avoid potential confusion. These will include pre-made blank T-Charts and labeled indexes with the actual grains and pasta included to name and identify the unfamiliar and easily confused materials. I will also model the key act of coming up with a categorization for sorting, investigating the materials and sharing findings in order to check reasoning and validity in results. I intend for this modeling to be brief, but will continue if visibly necessary to further scaffolding
of the act of investigation and scientific inquiry. Why This lesson is based primarily around the idea that children are born investigators (NSTA Framework p. 24) and that engaging them in a scientific process of inquiry will be a vehicle for creating wonder while teaching them to plan and implement structure for their findings and enhancing skills for future investigations. Ultimately, I want to turn rice into a concept that guides the students to approach something as mundane as a trip to the grocery store or normal as a simple dinner as an experience to be approached with wonder. A lesson somehow relating to rice was my original idea for a science lesson because I wanted to integrate the lesson into the larger unit that I am responsible for in my class of studying rice. Although I would only be teaching small group, I thought that it would be good to continue to develop potential components of this larger unit while refining them through the process of teaching a small group. I then went on to doubt myself somewhat as I felt that rice wasn’t necessarily all that science-y. I knew that I wanted to do something that had to do with collecting data in order to apply our findings to my lesson for math but thought that there was likely something more interesting and scientifically relevant to study. I thought about working with fallen leaves in connection to the season or mealworms because I greatly enjoyed that lesson in our class. I was also excited by the idea of working with mealworms in order to push some limits. I liked the idea of getting kids to push aside their creepy-crawly fears in order to scientifically investigate living bugs. I also liked the idea of having this relatively unconventional material present in the learning of my usually quite controlled school environment. These seemed like fun ideas and potentially more connected to other biological science content even if the lesson was just focused on the practices of investigating and evaluating information. In a cursory navigation of the NSTA site and its many articles, I found a lesson on snowflakes and doing a comparative investigation of their structure and design. While these wondrous little things still felt more interesting than rice, I saw that the real value in this lesson was in the investigation and I thought that those same principles and practices could be applied to anything. Furthermore, I reflected on our lesson in class at GSE examining the different rocks and shells and realized that there was more than enough to engage in with those, and rice would be no different. At this point I decided that I really liked the idea of a multidisciplinary unit around rice and that science was as good a subject as any to extend this learning into. I knew that I could get multiple different kinds of rice, grains and pasta and that they could easily be investigated and categorized in many ways. Still I wanted to add something more to this and thought that I could potentially include a sink and float component. My assumption was that different grains and pasta that still had a shell on them would float while rice would predictably sink. I spoke with my classroom mentor about my ideas for the lesson and she enthusiastically supported me. At this point I knew that I needed to actually acquire the materials and begin to test out different ideas. I asked multiple friends about where I might be able to buy many different grains and pasta in bulk. This spoke to the importance of knowing my local resources, especially when thinking somewhat outside of the box in regards to science materials. I was glad that my local food coop had the necessary bulk section and I would be able to buy the materials in the same community where I live, learn and teach. Probably the funnest part of the planning of this lesson was going to the store, painstakingly distributing and labeling a dozen tiny bags of rice and other grains and pasta from the bulk section and then having the cashier weigh and scan them one by one. I felt like a really creative teacher in this moment late that evening and got even more excited to continue planning. Upon further thought and play with the different types of race and other grains and pasta, I decided to step back somewhat and simplify things. In a preliminary test of the sink and float component, I found that only the couscous floated and I didn’t think that it was worth the added element and potential mess of having water on hand to make this small difference in categorization available. Instead, I thought more about how the rice could be sorted and decided
that there was plenty to work with without the sink and float. I also decided that I wanted to include some deductive reasoning in the lesson and would use some of the materials to test their ability to apply knowledge gathered throughout their inquiry to do this. This is when I decided to include two mystery materials of tri-color quinoa and black rice. Based on the characteristics of the other materials, the students should be able to determine what these are similar to and hopefully classify them as quinoa and rice. I also eliminated Arborio and long grain brown rice from the lesson because of their similarity in appearance to white sushi and brown basmati rice, respectively. Honestly, the standards were something that I stayed aware of but knew that I could apply after planning the majority of the lesson. In the process of planning, I was more concerned with the process of investigation and carrying out what I knew to be strong techniques in exploring and developing understanding. I knew that I wanted to provide enough structure that the lesson would go where I wanted it to, but leave the inquiry process pretty open to the students. I would front load with experience and then sum up with more knowledge and content-based clarity. Luckily this is a relatively familiar structure in my school and the students hopefully won’t be too thrown off by not getting a great deal of information in the beginning. Based on the way that they learn math and what I have observed of their work in science class, this shouldn’t be a problem. Lesson Plan Template Goals / Objectives - SWBAT utilize inquiry-based process of exploration to categorize unfamiliar materials in multiple ways - SWBAT employ findings to deduce characteristics and identity of mystery materials - SWBAT articulate findings and thought process and listen to, learn from and find inspiration in the ideas of peers Standards (and Assessment Anchors, if applicable) From NSTA Framework for Science EducationScientific Practices 1. Asking questions and defining problems 3. Planning and carrying out an investigation 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information Crosscutting Concepts 1. Patterns 3. Scale, proportion and quantity Materials and preparation - Supplies of each of nine rices & grains and pasta distributed in two large bowls (Israeli couscous, French couscous, whole wheat couscous, white quinoa, tricolor quinoa, white sushi rice, medium grain black rice, brown basmati rice, white jasmine rice) - Pre-made sheets for each student with labeled examples of each material and unlabeled two mystery materials. I plan to attempt to laminate these so that they can be used in the future, but may need to glue materials down to plain paper for the purposes of this single lesson. - Pre-made sheets with blank T-Charts for each student (plus extras) - Two pencils per student - (4) Erasers for the group
White board easel & markers One magnifying glass for each student 4 plastic rulers with millimeters
Classroom arrangement and management issues The lesson will take place in the pod area outside of main classroom in order to be in a familiar space and close to their normal learning environment (for potential behavior management or emergency purposes). Students will be arranged at two circular tables of 3-4 seats each with me in front of both tables with white board easel. Students will sit down at their seats which (with exceptions) they will choose for themselves. I will separate the three boys in the group because they often create problems with and for each other when in too close proximity. I also want them alternating in seating with girls in order to create boy/girl partners. Students will be given all materials by me. This is because I want to control the materials and also know that to distribute materials to a small group will not take much of my time. I am confident in the fact that working on a special lesson in the pod will be incentive enough to keep the students well behaved and that reminders that they may need to go back to the classroom will be a sufficient punishment to stop any serious misbehavior. I will also reinforce positive behavior by reminding the students of my expectations when beginning the lesson and that I hope to reward them stars on their individual rewards system in the classroom. Plan Direct Instruction: Begin by reminding students about the rice unit that we are working on in class and state that today we will be extending our work with rice into science. Tell them that we will be working with many different kinds of rice and similar grains and pasta. Ask students to think for 15 seconds about different kinds of rice or similar foods and go around circle taking one suggestion each. Then hand out laminated sheets with examples of those that we will be working with. Read the name of each and have them point to it on their guide. Draw attention to the two mystery materials and tell them that we will come back to that later. Then tell students that they will have a few minutes to take 2 grains of each material from a large mixed bowl that I will place in the middle of each table and group them on their paper by the labeled or mystery item that looks the same (about 3-4 minutes, with me checking and giving adjusted time updates as they go and make progress). 10 Minutes (Including transition to hall) Guided Practice: Distribute blank T-Chart paper and instruct students to put their name and the date at the top. Tell them that we will be comparing the different kinds of rice to each other and using these charts to make rules and put every kind into a category based on those statements. Tell them we will all go through an example together and draw my own T-Chart on whiteboard. Tell them that my two categories are light and dark colored and write the word “Color” above “Light” on the left and “Dark” on the right side of my example chart, tell them to copy this onto their first blank chart on their paper. Now tell them that I want them to write down the name of each category of rice on one side of the chart or the other (but not the mystery ones for now) and will give them 3 minutes to do so. During these 3 minutes, circulate and look for problem classifications and ask questions of students who may seem to be confused. “Why did you put that rice on that side?” “What do light and dark mean to you?” “Are there any that could go on either side?” Give warning of time ending and regroup to review results on board as I record one entry going around the group to each student. I anticipate that some students will categorize things differently, and if this is the case I will highlight the importance of personal definitions of
the categories and that all that matters is that you can explain why you put it there. 10 Minutes Independent Practice: Tell students that they will now have time to come up with as many different rules by which to sort the rice and label and create a T-Chart for each one. Remind them that every kind should fit on one side or the other (other than mysteries) for every chart. I want them to work independently for now but that they will have plenty of time to work with other students and share soon. Give them approximately 7 minutes to work independently as I circulate and make sure they are filling out charts properly and with all of the materials listed for each, asking open ended questions about their thinking and practice as I go. Periodically highlight general categories that I see people using if it looks like others are stuck “Wow, _____ seems to be looking at the shape of the rice, that’s very interesting”. About five minutes in, I will announce that I am giving them a new tool that might help them investigate further and distribute magnifying glasses. After 7 minutes elapsed, assign them to work with the person next to them (naming partners for lack of confusion or undesirable grouping) and tell them to share what they have so far and think more about other categories. About 3 minutes into that, ask them to make sure to think about having a chart that has something to do with size and think about how they could make that category or what they could use to measure. The idea here is that students will construct some sort of operational definition for size to categorize based on (bigger than and smaller than ____, or using a small item to measure larger ones, it is as long as 3 couscous) Continue to circulate. If it appears that students are not coming up with something for size, have one ruler for each pair available and distribute those as a new tool. Tell the students that I want them to now use what they have discovered in order to try and define the identity of the mystery materials and fill in the section of their worksheets on the back labeled “I think that mystery #1 is ______, because ________” and “I think that mystery #2 is ______, because ________”. Remind them to keep working on T-Charts once they have finished the mysteries. Give three minute warning and 1 minute warning before coming back together as whole group. Throughout all of independent practice, periodically praise examples of positive behavior exhibited by individuals, partners and the group. 20 Minutes Guided Practice/Reflection: Begin by highlighting work practices and thought processes that I really liked from individual students and partnerships. Then ask each person to look at their data for 10 seconds and decide on one chart to share and its contents and any tools that were used. This is strictly sharing and peer feedback will not be given Next take silent hands from volunteers who think that they know what the mystery materials are. Start with mystery #1 (tri color quinoa) and take as many different answers as possible. If there is disagreement, return to those who volunteered answers and ask them to explain. Highlight good reasoning and ask questions to move towards clarity. Repeat process for item #2. Tell them to take the last couple of minutes to add the mystery items to their charts. Give 1 minute warning. Remind them to make sure names are on all papers, collect and return to classroom. 10 minutes Assessment of the goals/objectives listed above Assessment will be formative throughout lesson and based on both involvement in guided practice and observation while working independently and in pairs. I will be looking for involvement in sharing and discussion and also active and hands on exploration of the materials while working independently. Papers collected with T-Charts and answers and explanations for
the mystery items will provide means for more formal assessment. I will be able to see the depth of their inquiry based on diversity and complexity of categorizations and the quality of thought with which they grouped the items. With another lesson coming up, and my freedom as student teacher, I can also have short follow up conversations around any remaining questions or confusion. Work will not be graded and I thus will not need a rubric or concrete means of assessing work. Anticipating students’ responses and your possible responses Covered throughout lesson. Accommodations There is a great deal of room in this lesson to continue to think deeper and develop more categories both in volume and complexity. I think that, along with the relatively short length of each section of the lesson will keep students who would otherwise need additional challenge involved. As for those who need extra support, I will be relatively free to give personal attention throughout the lesson to provide clarity and extra support. The option to use rulers for measurement if a operational definition approach does not work is also a differentiation that I have built into the lesson.
*** Note: Insert clock time in addition to elapsed for each section once specific time of lesson is confirmed.
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