Monday, February 27, 2012

Writing up an Investigation

Yesterday I talked about how we practiced writing up an investigation.  Today I am going to tell you how we did it for "real."
I started by telling the children that today's work was something I was going to count for a grade.  I explained to them that we have been working on guided investigations for a while and now was the time for them to create their own investigation. 
I posted the rules on the whiteboard:

You will need to have
1. a question to test
2.  a prediction
3. a plan
4. some written data
5. a conclusion such as "Today I learned...."

       I told the students that they would be working in their science groups on this task.  Each child would be expected to work together, but each notebook would be graded individually.  They are pretty familiar with the Science Notebook Rubric that I have and so they were well aware of my expectations. Before we started I helped them brainstorm some ideas to test with their electromagnets - changing the way we wind the coil or what item we pick up.  Then they set to work.  
It was the quietest hour of my life!  No one was asking me for help, they all knew what to do and worked without arguing.

  (On an aside note, I did have one special ed student build circuits virtually on the bbc websites because he has social issues with cooperating. Each lesson had a quiz at the end and I could still check his!)

Here are some of the results.  This is an entry from Robert.  He has some spelling errors, but the science is right on track.
He even included this amazing diagram on the next page.

Another example from another group that was twisting the wires in two directions.
I love the diagram that shows it does not work! I have multiple examples that I don't have room to share... I hope this will inspire you too to trust in your kids to create their own investigations.


  1. Hi there! We just started force and motion and we're crunched for time because of standardized testing. Any great ideas for 5th grade? I would appreciate any and all input!!

  2. I have quite a few blogs about force and motion if you scroll downwards. What are your main concepts? Maybe I can help with additional ideas....


  3. I'm doing the electromagnet investigation over the next few days! Your site has been more than helpful. Do you have any tips on HOW to teach the writing of open responses with the use of claim, evidence, and reasoning? Or something along those lines?

  4. Sure...sounds like a great idea for a new blog post!