Sara Walz

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Eighth, Seventh, and Six Grade

In order for the student to master the benchmarks listed under the specific grade and quarter the teacher will create 5e lesson plans that will utilize the following formats in the engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate phases of the lessons.

 

1. Laboratory Investigations – Inquiry-based labs are used whenever feasible. In these, the students determine what question will be answered in the lab, research the topic, propose a hypothesis, plan the step-by-step procedure and determine what materials will be needed within a base. Upon completion of the lab they write a formal lab report in which they are expected to graphically display and analyze their results and provide a detailed explanation of the reasoning that allowed them to reach a conclusion. For example, at the beginning of the year, students are asked to think of a question about a candle’s chemical properties then design a lab to answer that question. Questions can range from, “What effect does wick length have on how long a candle burns?” to “How much oxygen does a candle use to burn?” to “Which type of candle burns hotter, paraffin or beeswax?” Each team must have a unique question and their lab must produce data that can be analyzed and graphed. They are provided with a lab report format as a guide.

2. Lecture and Discussion – After an engaging exercise and exploration science concepts are presented, usually with the help of a PowerPoint presentation. A physical model or demonstration is employed whenever possible and practical applications are emphasized. Discussion is encouraged and often prompted by questioning of students during or following the presentation.

3. Practice Time – Lecture is frequently followed by an opportunity for students to practice or apply the concepts or calculations, usually via a worksheet or activity. Once again this helps students convert the material from something they hear about to something they can use and manipulate.

4. Activities, Explorations, Virtural Labs, and Demonstrations – In addition to formal labs, students are provided with a large variety of hands-on experiences to help illuminate Science concepts and calculations. These can be as brief as the Penny Activity, in which students see how many drops of water they can get on a penny before the surface tension breaks, to full-length labs that are not conducive to inquiry, so are guided by ready-made instructions and thought-provoking questions, such as the “Formula Weight of a Gas”.

5. Teamwork – Students are expected to work cooperatively with a partner on their labs and are also encouraged to work together in class to compare strategies and offer mutual aid and insight.

 

Assessment strategies used:

1. Tests and Quizzes – Most chapter tests are a combination of multiple choice and problems. The types of problems depend upon the material in the chapter.

2. Handout Completion – Students can show their proficiency in a chapter by correct completion of the various handouts. These would include worksheets as well as activity/lab handouts.

3. Lab write-ups – Lab reports are an important tool in assessing student understanding of the concepts underlying the lab, as well as the ability to manipulate calculations appropriately and the student’s lab skills.

4. Science note-booking –note-booking is an important way to assess the use of a note book to record notes, and observations, to record and sketch lab set ups and record data during lab work.

5. Class participation and group work – This informal assessment tool often provides a unique insight into student understanding – or misunderstanding - displayed as students go about their work or labs.

6. Science Research Project – everything has a Science story behind it and these projects let students pick topics of interest to them and report back on the science behind it.