Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Creatures From the Black Lagoon

Joe Brock
Bay District Schools

Description

Students are taken to an aquatic area such as a small beach zone, bayou, drainage ditch or wetland near the school in an open inquiry lesson to evoke questions from the students regarding their observations. They learn how to use scientific processes in designing experiements that answer the raised questions.

Objectives

The student uses systematic, scientific processes to solve problems and reach conclusions.

The student extends and refines use of accurate records, openness, and replication of experiments to ensure credibility.

Materials

-Access to wetlands of some kind including: a beach zone, bayou, pond, lake or drainage ditch, or other wetland.
-Notebook
-Pencil or pen
-Other materials will vary as students develop new questions.
-Chart paper or overhead
-Assessment rubrics (see associated file)


Preparations

1. Access the first three Websites in Weblinks and read about inquiry.
2. Access the last two Websites and read about wetlands. All of the sites are to be used as references by the teacher to help utilize both inquiry and wetlands information in this lesson.
3. Aquire chart paper or an overhead projector sheet for students to write questions.
4. Prepare one copy of the assessment rubrics for each student to review at the beginning of each day.

Procedures

Day 1 (Initiation Stage)
1. Tell the students they are going to engage in an activity that is designed to allow them to make observations that will stimulate some questions. The objective of the activity is to identify and write questions they would like to investigate. Tell the students they will use these questions in an experiment they will design.

2. Take the students to a beach zone, bayou, pond, lake or drainage ditch, or other wetland.

3. Inform the students they may walk about the area and should write down some observations. Observations can include what they see, hear, smell, feel or think as they interact in the environment.

4. Encourage students to discuss their observations with each other as they collect them. Students continue by forming questions, based on their observations.

5. Before students are ready to return to the classroom, regain the attention of the whole class and tell them you are going to ask one student to share one question from the list they would like to investigate. Allow a few minutes of discussion such as, how many others have the same question, etc.

6. Collect the written questions from each group and assess them for compliance to the day’s objective with the Initiation Rubric. (See associated file)

Day Two (Exploration Stage)
1. Ask students to read their questions aloud after you return them. Write the questions on the board or overhead projector. Continue this process until all students have all their questions clearly written in public view.

2. Review each question and eliminate those that are very similar or would not be appropriate for experimentation due to ethics or lack of sufficient equipment. Allow students to help in this.

3. After the questions have been narrowed, allow students to choose which questions they would like to investigate and encourage students to form groups that would like to investigate the same question, however, limit the groups to a maximum of four students. These groups will be referred to as investigation groups.

4. Instruct students to form into their investigation groups. Tell the students the objective of this day’s activity is to discuss within the investigation group how they will do their experiments and to list the materials they will need for their experiments.

5. Circulate around each group and help students identify possible procedures that might lead to solutions to the group’s investigation. It is important to encourage students to arrive at their own procedures and to allow the group to act on their own ideas. Don't offer help on solving the problem unless a group is seriously or hopelessly deadlocked.

6. After the investigation groups have formulated a procedure, encourage the teams to try to utilize commonly found materials from home or supermarkets they can bring the next day for the experiments. Ask students to underline any materials they cannot provide from home and submit a copy of the procedures and materials. Collect and assess each group’s procedural list using the Exploration Rubric.

Day Three ( Experimental Phase)
1. Students form into their investigation groups. Tell the students the objective of this day’s activity is to complete their experiments, discuss their results and design some method of displaying the results and conclusions for class reporting. Remind the students to take accurate data. In science, it is good practice to perform at least three trials to gather data and to ensure accurate results. Roam about the classroom monitoring student interactions and behaviors. Observe individual students. Refrain from answering questions that are directed by students, trying to ascertain if the data they have collected is correct. Instead, redirect the questions by telling students they will have an opportunity to compare their results with each other and ask questions of the other groups. For example, answer students with: How could you find out ……What happens when…….What did you discover…..

2. Once experiments have been completed, students are instructed to discuss the results and derive a conclusion based on their findings. Students use the remaining class time designing and constructing a display to present to the class that explains the final results. Please note this phase of open inquiry may require more time and it is important that you should be flexible and allow as much time as necessary to complete quality experiments. Collect and assess each group’s investigation using the Experimental Rubic.

Day Four (Presentation Phase)
1. Each group designates a member to present the findings of the investigation. At the end of each presentation, students in the audience are allowed to ask the presentation group questions about procedures, findings and conclusions. Students might ask, What did you find out about…. Can you explain why…..Why do you think that…. What other factors might be involved… List new questions that arise from the conversations for further investigation. Assess the report with the Report Rubric.

NOTE: It is important to review each rubric with students before assessments are used and after assessments are implemented.

Assessments

Student groups are assessed using four rubrics as they work through the four phases of open inquiry. The evidence and criteria are included in the rubrics. Students are individually assessed as the teacher circulates and observes students working within the groups. See the associated file.

Extensions

The lesson can be extended by a allowing students to design other open inquiries from questions that stem from different observations through later experiences in the science classroom. Provide students time to build Web pages about their experiments, highlighting their questions, procedures and results.

Web Links

This Website can be used as a reference by the teacher to help utilize both inquiry and wetlands information for this lesson plan.
Inquiry Page

This Website can be used as a reference by the teacher to help utilize both inquiry and wetlands information for this lesson plan.
Implementing Inquiry

This Website can be used as a reference by the teacher to help utilize both inquiry and wetlands information for this lesson plan.
Bguile

This Website can be used as a reference by the teacher to help utilize both inquiry and wetlands information for this lesson plan.
Wetlands

This Website can be used as a reference by the teacher to help utilize both inquiry and wetlands information for this lesson plan.
Wetlands

Attached Files

Assessment Rubrics     File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.