Saturday, February 23, 2013

Drawing Conclusions

I know I am not the only teacher out there who when asking how to draw a conclusion, gets the response "you need to draw a picture."  In my case, it makes perfect sense! I teach the kids all year to draw to show your understanding of a concept.  However, when they see that as a test question - drawing a picture is not an option, right?

So to address this idea, my teammates and I decided to start with the fact that draw is a multiple meaning word.  I started with a graphic organizer with the word draw in the top box.

Then, we brainstormed all the meanings of draw - to draw a picture, to draw a card, to draw blood, to draw the blinds, etc... One of my kids said " know drawers!"  Ha ha.. don't worry I cleared it up!

We talked about the fact that draw means to pull out in many situations.  The same is true when you draw a conclusion. You are pulling out information from an experiment that you have finished or a text you have read.

Example from the classroom...

We have been working on conductors and insulators in my science class.  We started with a question:  What materials conduct electricity or insulate electricity?

I predefined what the science terms mean with a science word chart.

Science words
What they mean
Allows electricity to flow  through it
No electricity flows through it

Then they were given a baggie of materials to test in the circuit. The materials would be placed one at a time where the switch connects to complete the circuit.  These were the same objects we tested as being attracted to a magnet by the way and so many kids were convinced the same materials would work as conductors.  Of course, that was not the case.

They explored and tested and recorded their data on a T chart. They were surprised that all metals worked in the circuit - not just iron and steel.

When we finished it was time to "draw a conclusion".  To help them with this idea we looked back at our question and our data.  I wrote a sentence frame for students who felt like they needed extra support (ESL, SPEC ED, ADHD, etc...)  We also talked about the fact that wood does not complete a circuit, but also would not be a good insulator due to fire risks.  They got that pretty easily!

I conclude that ________________ materials conduct electricity.  Insulators can be made of __________________________________________. 

Hope this example helps you out! 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thomas Edison

We are working on the FOSS unit Magnetism and Electricity - another one of my favorite units! So far we have explored what is attracted to magnets using plastic bags full of materials.  Many of the materials are duplicates, only one is made of iron or steel and the other of another non-magnetic substance. 

We have begun exploring how to create a circuit using D-cells and light bulbs.  Students are learning new vocabulary such as energy source and energy receiver, circuits and filament. As part of this lesson we are introduced to Thomas Edison. 

Lewis Latimer
Did you know that Thomas Edison did NOT invent the light bulb? He was an engineer - he found an existing problem and using through trial and error worked to find a better way. It was not until he met Lewis Latimer, an African American inventor that the modern  light bulb was improved to last more than a few days.  Thomas Latimer had created a filament that would not burn out quickly. Together they figured out a way to vacuum out the air, so that there would be no oxygen in the glass bulb for the filament to catch on fire.

Anyway....I have created a worksheet to use as a follow up to introducing Thomas Edison.  I tried to include a passage about his childhood love of asking questions as a spark or connection for our kids.  Then we ask them to imagine what they would invent if they could.  

Grab it free here!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Sale

Around my house, football is on!  My boys love to watch football from August until February...routing for their favorite players all year long.  This year we are so excited to see the Ravens in the Super Bowl!  We are actively cheering on home town player - Torrey Smith - from Stafford, Virginia where we live. 

In honor of the super bowl, I am offering a sale of 15% on my products that costs $5 or more. I hope you will visit my store and pick up something you have been looking for!