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Designing Cohesive Lessons ~ Teaching Science in Middle and Secondary Schools

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### Designing Cohesive Lessons ~ Teaching Science in Middle and Secondary Schools

Mark Volkmann

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO

Design a Lesson Sequence:

- Good lessons have a story line.
- Good lessons challenge students’ misconceptions
- Good lessons help students develop evidence–based explanations.

Designing a Story-Line

- Start with 4 questions
- What do you want students to learn? – the concept
- How should the lesson begin? – the phenomenon
- What representation should students understand?
- What instructional steps connect the beginning phenomenon with the ending representation?

What do you want students to learn?

- The GLE for learning density: Objects, and the materials they are made of, have properties that can be used to describe and classify them. (Strand 1.1. A)
- Compare the densities of regular and irregular objects using their respective measures of volume and mass (DOK 3)
- Identify pure substances by their physical and chemical properties (i.e., color, luster/reflectivity, hardness, conductivity, density, pH, melting point, boiling point, specific heat, solubility, phase at room temperature, chemical reactivity) (DOK 1)

How should the lesson begin?

- If I place this vegetable into water, will it sink or float?
- What does this have to do with density?

What representation should students understand?

- What is the Mass to Volume ratio for each of the objects?
- The mass to volume ratio is recognized by scientists as a very important quantity called density.
- Density is the ratio of the mass of a substance to its volume.

What instructional steps connect the beginning phenomenon with the ending representation?

Four Principles of Learning

- Principle #1: Prior learning matters
- Principle #2: Learning is social
- Principle #3: Students need to understand and frame knowledge
- Principle #4: Self-monitoring is key

Let’s practice these four steps

- What do you want students to learn? – the concept
- How should the lesson begin? – the phenomenon
- What representation should students understand?
- What instructional steps connect the beginning phenomenon with the ending representation?

Grade Level Expectation - Density

- The GLE for learning density: Objects, and the materials they are made of, have properties that can be used to describe and classify them. (Strand 1.1. A)
- Compare the densities of regular and irregular objects using their respective measures of volume and mass (DOK 3)
- Identify pure substances by their physical and chemical properties (i.e., color, luster/reflectivity, hardness, conductivity, density, pH, melting point, boiling point, specific heat, solubility, phase at room temperature, chemical reactivity) (DOK 1)

Applying Principles to Teaching Density

- Begin instruction with a question! Ideally, the question intersects with an interest of their own.
- Begin with a concrete phenomena and move to an abstract concept.

Concept

Phenomena

Teaching Sequence – How do we decide?

- Measure the mass and volume of an object to find density
- Explore students’ explanations
- Give a lecture explaining density
- Demonstrate density phenomena
- Practice density problems
- Assess prior ideas
- Apply density concepts
- Evaluate student learning of density

Applying Principles to Teaching Density

- If I place this vegetable into water, will it sink or float?
- What does this have to do with density?

Student Ideas: What does the Research Say?

- Students’ pre-conceptions about floating and sinking:
- Driver, R., Squires, A., Rushworth, P., & Wood-Robinson, V. (1994). Making sense of secondary science: Research into children’s ideas. London: Routledge Press.

Students’ Explanations

- What is the role of Mass?
- What is the role of volume?
- What is the role of air?
- What is the role of shape?

Puzzler

- An egg has a mass of 54 grams and sinks in water. What is the volume of the egg? Is it greater than 54 cm3 or less than 54 cm3? Why do you think so?
- If we placed the egg data on the graph for water, would the egg be located above or below the line for water?

Developing a Conceptual Explanation

- What is the Mass to Volume ratio for each of the objects?
- The mass to volume ratio is recognized by scientists as a very important quantity called density.
- Density is the ratio of the mass of a substance to its volume.

Apply the Concept of Density to a new Context

What would happen if we placed each object in alcohol? Would the object float or sink?

What do you know about floating and sinking in water that will help you answer this question?

What information do you already have?

What new information do you need to learn?

Application of Density to a

Float or Sink in Alcohol:

Graphical Representation for Alcohol

Alcohol Density (Mass <Volume)

How can we know that students have learned?

- What activities reveal student learning?
- Talk to a neighbor.
- How can you know in a classroom whether students have learned?

Summative Evaluation #1

- If liquid A (density = 2.5 g/cc) is poured into liquid B (density = 3.0 g/cc), which will float? Why?
- If liquid C (density = 1.2 g/cc) is poured into liquid D (density = 3.5 g/cc), which will float? Why?
- If A and B are poured into C and D, what will be the order of floating from top to bottom? Why?
- If a marble (density = 2.0 g/cc) is dropped into this column of liquids where do you predict it will float? Why?

Summative Assessment #2

- What measurements, or combination of measurements, would you use to predict if an object will float or sink?
- Mass
- Volume
- Shape
- Air

Summative Assessment #3

- A sample of gasoline has a mass of 50.0 grams and a volume of 60.0 cubic centimeters. What is the density of the gasoline?

Summative Assessment #4

- A sample of lead has a mass of 44 grams and a volume of 4 cubic centimeters. What is the mass of a sample that is 8 cubic centimeter?

Summative Assessment #5

- Does the Rootabega Sink or Float?
- What information do you need to make a prediction?

What about density?

- Prior learning matters.
- Learning is social.
- Students need to understand and frame knowledge.
- Self-monitoring is key.

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