Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mold Growing on Cheese....Again

Since our first experiment did not go as well as planned, we decided to do it again. And here it is. We have four different types of cheese, and we are all placing them in the same window seal to see how much mold grows, and boy has it.

Our first cheese is Feta

Next here is Mozzarella

And there is Colby Jack

Last but not least American

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Inquiry in Science and in Classrooms

The Nature of Human Inquiry

Humans are innately curious, as anyone knows who has watched a newborn. From birth, children employ trial-and-error techniques to learn about the world around them. As children and as adults, when faced with an unknown situation, we try to determine what is happening and predict what will happen next. We reflect on the world around us by observing, gathering, assembling, and synthesizing information. We develop and use tools to measure and observe as well as to analyze information and create models. We check and re-check what we think will happen and compare results to what we already know. We change our ideas based on what we learn.

This section explains the facts that every teacher needs to remember, that everyone asks questions and we work toward figuring out the answers. As a future teacher I need to take the time to listen to my students and use these questions as teachable moments. Even if I do not know the answers to all the questions that are being asked (which will most likely happen more than I would like to admit) I need to work with them to find the answers, and then it will continue to lead to more questions. Again this will not be for science lessons alone, but it can and should be used in all the lessons throughout the school day. Without having the students speak out about their thoughts and ideas then they won't be as interested to continue their experience learning and researching and working towards furthering their education. This could lead them to finding out something new after the lesson has "completed" in the classroom, but then they are able to continue it at home and possibly even longer after that. I must continue to question the students' ideas to keep them moving forward with research and their own unique ideas, beliefs, and thoughts.

Bulbs and Wires

From class:
Circuits lab

Physical science, content standard B, light, heat, electricity, and magnetism

Electricity and circuits can produce light

Learning goal:
How do you complete a circuit?

Formative assessment:
Collge students thought that we needed 2 wires to make the light bulb light up

Learning performances:
Lighting a light bulb with wire, bulb, and electricity.


Update: 6/28

Inquiry Continuum from doing the experiment in class: making a light bulb light up with wires and a battery

While we were in class we were giving the supplies, and told to make the bulb light up, but we were not given the exact directions to make it happen. We were given pages of suggestions, to make the light happen from using one wire verses two, or with two bulbs instead of one, and two batteries or just one...but we had to figure out if we needed to strip the wires, use a specific kind and how to connect them properly.
Here is the Inquiry Continuum for this experiment:

Engage: Learner engages in question provided by teacher, materials, or other source
We were given the materials and given the task of making the light bulb light up. Can you light a bulb with one battery, one bulb, and one wire?

Evidence: Learner directed to collect certain data
We were given the materials, but we had to figure out a way to make it work. Although we were told that we should try to use two wires, or two batteries, or two bulbs, different wires, etc.

Explanation: Learner guided in process of formulating explanations from evidence
Once we were able to make the light bulb light up, we then had a classroom discussion (lead by both teacher and students) to explain why and how the bulbs lit up. It is this because we ask them a question to complete and explain.

Evluate and communicate is not really in this lesson because the students are not asked to go look up research and then give a presentation on it.

Evluate: Learner directed toward areas and sources of other explorations
We thought we knew that the experiment would work, but we were the ones doing the hands on actions to compare what would happen if we changed anything (the wires, the bulbs, the batteries, the placement, etc)

Communicates: Learner forms reasonable and logical argument to communicate explanations
We were able to explain what happened with the actual physical experiments, so we had the proof to show if something worked or did not work, and then we could talk about it with the class.


What lesson I would use for this same experiment:

Using fruit to light a light bulb!

Select an orange that is slightly soft. This will allow the juices to flow throughout the orange. The acidity found in the orange's juice will help create ions to charge the LED bulb.

Insert the zinc nail and the copper nail into the orange. The nails should be placed opposite of each other and should not touch. Push the nails halfway into the orange. Do not allow the nails to puncture through the other end of the orange.

Attach a small length of copper wire to the head of the zinc nail. The wire should be long enough to reach from the zinc nail to the middle of the orange.

Attach a small length of copper wire to the head of the copper nail. The wire should be equal in length to the wire attached to the zinc nail.

Wrap the ends of the copper wires that are connected to the zinc and copper nails around the LED light bulb. The bulb will light up.

Then try and see if you can use other fruit to produce the same results, or use different wire, or use more than one bulb. Have the students come up with some questions that they have, and then work through them to find the answers!

For the Inquiry Continuum for my future lesson:

I would set up this lesson the same as we did in class, I would ask them to use the materials given and try to make the light bulb light up. Can they do it? In more than one?

Students will complete a circuit that lights a bulb by using wires and fruit

Engages: Learner engages in question provided by teacher, materials, or other source
We were given the materials and given the task of making the light bulb light up

Evidence: Learner directed to collect certain data
We were given the materials, but we had to figure out a way to make it work. Although we were told that we should try to use two wires, or two batteries, or two bulbs, different wires, different fruit, cut fruit, etc.

Explanation: Learner directed toward areas and sources of other explorations
They are given the materials and they have their own ideas if it will worker not, the light bulb lighting up, but they do the actual experiment of seeing what works. They are also able to change the materials to see if it will work still. And then have them explain how it works.

Evaluate: Learner directed toward areas and sources of other explorations
They will need to use outside sources to support or deny their information they have found from the experiments. They will need to record their information and produce a chart to show what they have discovered.

Communicates: Learner forms reasonable and logical argument to communicate explanations
We were able to explain what happened with the actual physical experiments, so we had the proof to show if something worked or did not work, and then have the students present their chart they produced from the information they have gotten from the experiments. They also need to provide their information they got from their outside source to support their information they found from the experiment. And they need to be able to explain everything they present.

Another examples:
Have them pass the energy by holding hands and squeezing their hand to pass it around the circle

Use their tongue as part of the circuit

Have them create a little house out of a shoebox and have them wire it to turn on the lights in it

Update from class:
If it isn't there, then it isn't there. Don't make it up.
Engaged by asking a sciencfitic question, give the question.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chart For Criteria of the Lesson

During class I was in the group where we were asked to see how fast coffee cools if you stir the cup. We decided to have 3 different cups for our experiment, one that we let sit without stirring, one where that we stirred as fast as we could, and then one that we stirred slower than the second cup. We then had the thermometer in the hot water to get the standing temperature at the start. Then we stirred for one minute and then took the temperature again, we continued this process for 3 minutes total to see what would happen with the cooling of the water. We made a prediction that the cup of water that we stirred the quickest would cool the fastest in the short amount of time.

5-E Criteria Chart

Explain: Why you believe this supports your claim

Engage:Learner engages in question provided by teacher, materials, or other source

Evidence:Learner directed to collect certain data

Explain: Learner formulates explanations after summarizing evidence

Evaluate: Learner directed toward areas and sources of other explanations

Communicate: Learner provided broad guidelines to use sharpen communication

Weather chart:

One spring day the hottest temperature in the U.S. was 90 ̊F. What was the weather like at the place where it was 90 ̊F?
a. It was sunny.
b. It was very humid.
c. There was no wind.
d. More than one of the above was true.
e. More information is needed.

E: 11% (n=1186) correct answer

The most frequent responses were D (39%), A (31%) and B (14%). Students might have been drawing more on personal experience than on knowledge of the weather when answering this item.

Why did so many students not get this question correct? How would you teach this to the students for them to learn the correct information?

did not fill it out due to book in the classroom

Learning goals: What should the students know?
They need to know if location makes a difference for the weather/tempaturare. Make sure to talk about the actually location, by the equator, level of elvuation, time of the year or seasons, etc.

Formative Assessment: What do students already know?
Ask the students what they know and understand about weather, heat, and temperature. Have them use personal experiences for their examples. Ask them if they have ever been anywhere outside of Iowa, and ask them where and when they went. And then ask them what the tempaturare was when they were there. Ask them why there are differences in the weather even through it is the same time of the year, but they are at a different location. By having them use their own personal experiences they are more engaged and interested in the topic.

Learning Performances: What do you want students to do to show they’ve learned?
Have them collect data to show the different weather in all the different locations that all the students have visited in the classroom, and then have them create a chart or graph to show the data collected. This way they will be able to see the different tempaturares, and then they will be able to continue their investigation of why this happens. They are able to find many different examples for this reason and they can all discuss this as a whole class to compare all the different information gathered.

Information from class:
You could Skype someone from another location and have the students ask them questions about their weather. Or they could set up their own weather station and give their own reports about the location and weather.

From class

Engage: how does surface swipe impact mold growth?
Learner selects among questions, poses new questions
You select from questions

Evidence: learner directed certain data
Students given grid squares and we decided as a class on how to read the units

Explanation: learner formulates after summarizing evidence
Student directed because they are able to decide how to display the information gathered and summarize evidence

Evaluate: learner independently examines other resources and forms the links to explainations
Student directed because you are expected to learn more about the growth of mold outside of the classroom

Communication: learner provided broad guidelines to use sharpen communication
teacher directed because teacher gives specific requirements,ie making a PowerPoint presentation, this makes it easier for the teacher to assess the lesson


Quick Quiz

1. Learning goal is something that is predetermined before the lesson has begun. It is something that the teacher has decided on that they want the student to learn at the end of completeing the lesson given.
Learning performance is something that the students will do to show what they have learned from the lesson.

These are similar to the product verses the process, and sometimes it is more important for the student to understand the process of something to get all the knowledge from the lesson, rather than just getting to the end of the lesson.

2. 5 essential features of inquiry
Engage: asking a question
Evidence: finding research to back up your information
Communication: being able to explain what you have found
Evaluate: making sure they are completing the proper steps and then coming up with a conclusion

Krajcik Chapter 9

In this article they explain assessments: both summative and formative, as a future teacher I must be able to use both assessments while teaching.
"If used effectively, both formative and summative assessments can inform classroom practices and help students learn. Formative assessments are those that help teachers make day-to-day decisions about instruction or help students learn. These assessments are used in the context of instruction to assess prior knowledge and are also embedded into instruction to guide teaching and learning. Summative assessments occur at the end of a unit of instruction or time period (such as upon completing a grade level) to determine achievement, issue grades,promote students, or demonstrate accountability."

The National Science Education Standards have these three guiding questions to base assessments on:

1. Where are you trying to go?

2. Where are you now?

3. How can you get there?

I believe that these three guiding questions are a great base for every lesson, and they should be thought about when teaching any students. Even though a teacher may have a specific goal in mind for the lesson being taught, they need to be open in adapting the lesson to answer (or assist when needed) any questions or ideas the students have while completing the lesson. Even though this may need extra time to complete, they need to take the time to cover the questions asked or ideas brought up. This can mean doing it in class, or guiding the students outside of class.

Batteries, Bulbs, and Wires

Moving Beyond the Science Kit:
Explorations of Electricity and Atoms

In this article it explains the difference of two teacher's way of instruction while teaching electricity, and how much the actual instruction makes a huge difference on how the students learn.

Ms. Stone was able to receive several electricity kits from a commercial manufacture and she begins preparing her lesson the night before by putting together the kit at home. Then at school the next day she has the students work in groups of 4 to complete the lesson by following directions as Ms. Stone directed them at the front of the classroom.

By doing it this way Ms. Stone had the students working together, but unfortunately they are only able to do the steps individually and they seemed to become bored quickly because they were sitting there waiting quite a bit of the time. Ms. Stone then would reference the definitions she has written on the board, and she believed that the lesson was successful when the groups of students were able to get the light bulbs to light up. Bu this doesn't mean that the students actually learned anything. They just followed the directions given, but they weren't able to question the lesson or the ideas or anything that would lead them into questioning more about the subject.

Ms. Travis is also working with the same several electricity kits from a commercial manufacture, but instead of following the directions exactly, she took the lesson into her own hands and made a new creative lesson. She started with the students talking about electricity to find out what the students know about the topic, and then she had them take apart flashlights in order for them to figure out some questions and ideas by themselves.

I believe that Ms. Travis had the better idea about teaching this lesson, and I would do something similar to this if I was teaching the lesson. I think having the students take apart something themselves and ask questions is the best way for the students to learn and understand the topic. They are able to use their own personal experiences to lead their ideas about electricity, and this will keep them more engaged in the topic. I hope this will keep the learned lesson in their memory a lot longer than if they would have just read and followed the directions given to just make a light bulb light up.