What do you know about student engagement?
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What is the problem here?
Using Engagement and Exploration to Create Meaning.
I bought the kids dinosaur eggs a few weeks ago. One was a water hatchling and the other was a fossil dig. We are still working on the fossil dig, but this was a great chance to review some things we know about solids, liquids, and gases. I chipped off a little of the clay around the fossilized dinosaur. Is the dust a solid, liquid or gas?
There are lots of options as to the direction to move this study. We began learning about the particulate nature of matter (it is made up of small parts called atoms). I got them interested while they were working with a topic. They decided they wanted to find out the answers to my questions. They bought-in to the lesson. Once we had decided it was still solid, we could start our exploration.
- water spray bottle
- small hammer or mallet or even a spoon would work
- water with liquid soap and a straw.
I let the kids loose to explore. During exploration try to have a driving question. Could all of this matter be broken into parts? They started to dig in.
The kids explored and attempted to determine the answer to my question. They got the chance to dig, spray water, blow some bubbles, and make mud. They got to be serious and be silly. It couldn’t get much better.
We also reintroduced some of the questions that we have had about why the ocean is salty. My little guy is blowing air into the cup, although it does look like he is having a nice sip of bubbles. We had quite a few bubble beards.
After exploring for a little while, we went into the explanation phase. I asked lots of questions that helped the kids to make observations about their experiments. This is the time guide the students in developing explanations. This is also a time to introduce vocabulary and scientific theory.
These were our explanations:
- All matter is made up of small parts or particles.
- You can choose to name the particles as atoms or not.
- Particles can be separated or joined to reform the object.
- If you spray water on your hand, you can see the droplets and they will reform a larger quantity of water that drips off of your hand.
Now we needed to experiment. The goal was to elaborate on the particulate nature of matter and introduce the idea that energy in the form of heat impacts the behavior of matter. We played with ice and they LOVED it! The kids spent over an hour having fun with these materials.
This can be as formal or as informal as you like. For this lesson, I simply ask the kids questions to make sure they had the basics.
If you haven’t tried 5E yet, come along with us on our adventure! Each lesson gets easier for me to implement and I am so proud of what my kids are able to do. I am learning a lot about this method on our journey. With this in my arsenal of techniques, I leave more days with good tears than bad.
Let me know if you have questions about implementing 5E in your home or classroom. You can grab your own guide to creating lessons just like this by clicking here.