Sunday, February 26, 2012

Do you practice how to write up an investigation?


I just finished watching my son play in a championship basketball game for his U9 team at the YMCA.  As I watched, I thought we never could have gotten here without the specific and targeted practices each week.  The coach watched each player and would have them practice what they needed.  Some may practice free throws, some layups, and some defense.  But put it all together, and we won many basketball games.  Not bad for a child who had never played before!

Now, why am I telling you this? So often I think we expect kids to perform to high expectations without the practice it takes to get there. 

In my classroom we have been working on building electromagnets and we were ready to move to the next step - designing your own investigation.  I wanted them to be able to think of the question, make a prediction, record their data and write a conclusion on their own.  But before we could do this, we needed to practice. 

I set up the practice session by telling them I wanted them to test how many washers it would take with a set number of winds of coil.  Each group needed to pick a number to test and write it as a question.  Next, we talked about how to write your prediction.  Then, we practiced writing a plan with a format that looked like this: Step one, Step two... I showed them how to record data and finally a conclusion step.

Here is an example of how one of my students wrote up his practice plan in his science notebook.

If you are interested in grabbing the format for the plan, you can click here for a freebie... You can run this off for students who need the structure, of you can use it yourself to help you plan how to format a science notebook page.  Check back in tomorrow to see how they did with their small group investigations ... on their own!

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing this-- very helpful!

    To The Square Inch