Day 14

Elementary School Visit Today we had the pleasure of attending Mrs. Sage Randklev's 3rd and 4th grade mixed class at Wilson Elementary. Mrs. Randklev is a previous student of Emily's and requested to have our class visit to teach her students about light probes.

Our class developed a schedule for the elementary school visit day and created a list of items they wanted to use:

Light Sensor Plan
9:00- 9:10am Opening
9:10- 9:15am What they know, predictions (use note sheet from class)
9:15- 9:30am Play with different materials, let the students explore with the light sensor
9:30- 9:35am Graph their work (the students must label and draw their graph)
9:35- 9:40am Powerful ideas
9:40- 9:50am Writing what they learned and what they are still wondering on the note sheet
9:50- 10:00am Closing

1.Light sensor
2.8 note sheets
3.Foil, mirror, different color paper, smooth fabric, rough fabric, paper towel, wax paper, clear container, light fabric, dark fabric, banana (smooth surface), orange (rough surface)
4.Graph with an x and y axis for students to label

Emily's group of students formed groups of two and were responsible for about 4-5 elementary school students per group. Each group had their own set of materials and two light probes to use. They decided among themselves how they would have the elementary school students document their learning about reflectivity (most just had students write in their science journals).
The elementary school students were eager to play with the light probes, and some groups had trouble getting the kids to do anything but flash the probes all around the room. To get them focused on graphing and the overall point of the lesson, different groups used different tactics. I took notes on some of the interesting and unique strategies that I noticed each group implementing, as well as what the elementary school students reported learning at the end of the lesson (we had a sharing time where one student from each group acted as the “reporter” and shared information for their group):
Group 1
These two ladies had some trouble getting their students to pay attention to the goal of the lesson. Their students were much more interested in playing with the probes the entire time without purpose. The PHYS 111 students asked their students to try to make the graph flat in order to regain their attention. They asked them to try to make special designs in the graph and made using the graph fun for them. They also asked each of the students to test their favorite color for its refelctivity so that they could compare each of their favorite colors.
Group 2
This group was very self-motivated. They moved their sheet of wax paper around on top of different surfaces to watch how its reflectivity changed. They decided that by putting wax paper over a sheet of colored construction paper, the paper's reflectivity decreased. The students used glow in the dark beads to see how reflectivity changed as the beads began to glow. The group worked well together.
Group 3
This group noticed that the sun was very reflective and spent a lot of time writing down patterns that they noticed, as well as writing about their predictions, what they observed, and what they were able to infer.
Group 4
Group 4 spent a lot of time moving their light sensor over all of the different colors of construction paper. They noticed their graph increasing and decreasing as they moved the sensor over various colors and spent time analyzing the graph and talking about reasons for why that was happening.
Group 5
Group 5 was very creative with the materials they either suggested that the students used, or the materials that the students wanted to use. They were testing the reflectivity of their chair legs, the plastic back of their chairs, glasses, etc. They definitely were able to engage their group of students. The students reported learning that light colors and shiny things make the graph go higher (therefore have a higher reflectivity).
Group 6
Group 6 also had some very motivated students who were definitely excited to learn about reflectivity. The students spent a lot of time making lists and tables to compare the reflectivity of the different colors of construction paper. They guessed that aluminum foil would reflect more light because its more shiny. I overheard one of the students saying, “I like science because it's not schoolwork and I get to do it with people!”
Group 7
Group 7 spent a lot of time watching and analyzing their graph. The students noticed that dark colors were less reflective than light colors.

At the end of our classroom visit, we asked a student from each group to answer the question, “What is science?” The children answered:

  • Science is doing experiments.
  • Science is learning about weather, light, and temperature.
  • Science is measuring things.
  • Science is predicting and finding out if you're right.
  • Science is predicting and testing it.
  • Science is awesome!


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