Effective teachers of science are able to plan for engaging all students in science learning by setting appropriate goals that are consistent with knowledge of how students learn science and are aligned with state and national standards. The plans reflect the nature and social context of science, inquiry, and appropriate safety considerations. Candidates design and select learning activities, instructional settings, and resources--including science-specific technology, to achieve those goals; and they plan fair and equitable assessment strategies to evaluate if the learning goals are met.
All of my units, activities and lessons are designed for specific purposes - some are designed to teach one of the Virginia Standards Of Learning (SOLs), others are designed to teach a particular part of the scientific process (how to think and act like a scientist) and some are designed to teach safety protocols and other procedures for the class. The following lessons are taken from my first unit of instruction, where we focus on the class procedures, scientific method and the first Life Science SOL, which accounts for about 1/3 of the material on the SOL science test. This first SOL is also about the foundation of scientific reasoning.
Samples from Unit 1: Scientific Methods & Materials
Virginia Standards of Learning - LS 1
Raisin Observation Lab
This activity is done the first or second day of class as a quick assessment to determine students' knowledge of scientific method from previous years study.
Classroom Procedures & Use of Resources
Establishing procedures from the beginning of school is vital for the proper functioning of a science classroom. Students must be familiar with the location of important equipment and information, and also have a working understanding of classroom resources. While procedures may seem secondary to teaching content, their absence would make learning content much more difficult.
- Classroom procedures day 1 introduction
- Classroom procedures day 2 introduction
- Classroom Procedures
- Textbook introduction
- Classroom scavenger hunt
Scientific Method Discussion & Notes
Scientific Tools & Measurement
This lesson uses a combination of kinesthetic activities, class discussion, reading from the Delta Education book Tools and traditional note taking.
- Tools of Measurement & Life Science Lesson Plan
- PowerPoint excerpt
- Reading a Thermometer & Celsius Conversions
- Tools Flashcards
- Reading a Graduated Cylinder Lesson Plan
- Reading a balance with Mass Lab Lesson Plan
- Volume Lab with Water Displacement Lesson Plan
- Reading a Metric Ruler and Leaf Length Lab Lesson Plan
- Leaf Lab PowerPoint
Inference and Observation
This lesson uses a classic drawing made of fossils in the desert to help illustrate to students the difference between inference and observation. The class discusses clue words to help them distinguish their opinions/guesses from facts.
Students must be able to identify the components of an experiment (independent variable, dependent variable, constants, control, etc) and then make value judgements about the scientific validity of results, as well as determine places for improvement.
Using knowledge gained during the unit, students participate in a simple class experiment to design a method for making an ice cube last longer than a control in a Styrofoam cup. The class data is collected and shared for all students to analyze and complete the steps of the scientific method, including a written report with their research and conclusions detailed, graphs displayed and data analyzed.