Yesterday was pure pleasure having the whole day to work with fellow 8th grade teachers. First we learned how to use new @CPOScience equipment---the energy car which has an amazing setup for investigating Newton's Laws.
When we talked about the data, it was clear this would provide more than enough evidence for students to understand the relationship between force and speed AND force and mass.
Then we started wondering....
How do we take this fabulous lesson and turn it into a 3D NGSS lesson?
Fortunately the publisher has already chosen a PE (MS PS2-1) and thoughtfully put the familiar blue, orange and green boxes on the beginning page of the investigation. Plus the science was rock solid and incrementally led students to gather data, reason and have to explain what they witnessed.
What was missing was the guiding questions from the get-go?
With two fabulous colleagues to brainstorm with, we realized that the only tweak this lab needed was two small tweaks.
# 1 Tweak-------Since the focus of this PE was systems, why not have students before they start the lab sketch the system they will use to test out their ideas, labels the parts of the system and trace the energy flow they anticipate seeing? We can quickly review what they have drawn and discuss ideas as a whole class before we start. They can recycle back to the diagram to check their understanding and make any needed changed once they are finished.
Wasn't that easy? Voila! 2nd dimension added.
#2 Tweak----The publisher had great describe and explain questions. But knowing 8th graders as we do, we will edit the questions to say something like "Use your CER strategy" instead of explain or describe. Eventually we want students to automatically assume explain and describe mean CER, but since this lab comes so early in the year, we feel like we'll need to be more explicit.
Wasn't that easy too? Voila again! 3rd dimension added.
#3 Bonus Tweak--- We started talking about how you grade something like this. And the question came up, what do we really want students to walk away knowing and remembering. From there we wondered if using the lab as a formative assessment wasn't a better idea. Instead of grading it, as we traditionally would have done, why not have students peer review the lab results and we could have another class discussion.
Once all that was done, we could pick several student samples to use for the summative assessment. Students would have to annotate those reports and analyze them, write another CER using the new data and make recommendations on where and how those explain/describes could be improved or where the example analysis went wrong.
Instead of grading the lab writeup itself, we would be extracting the big idea(which circles back to integrating the DCI and CCC) while using the SEP of writing clear explanations on the summative.
Our final voila!
I could have never thought up all of this. It was so much easier, professionally energizing and fun to work with colleagues who want students to fall in love with science while learning something.
What do you think? Was this easy? We think it takes the lesson to the place that the NGSS spirit leads us. Do you agree?