Day 155 – Fundamental Particles

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Science 8 – Students followed a WebQuest to learn about Quarks and Leptons. The class was really engaged, even though they had to share one computer for every three kids. When we reviewed the activity and I randomly called on students, they were all able to give an answer and seem comfortable with what they were saying.

Here is a link to the document I gave them to follow: fundamental particles

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Day 139 – TRIUMF

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Science 8 – I took my classes to TRIUMF at UBC today.  It was a good day for a few reasons.  First, it was nice just to get outside of the classroom. Second, for many students this was their first time taking public transportation by themselves and a good way to start that  process. Thirdly, the facility is just plain interesting.

After our tour I polled the kids to see how they liked it.  The feedback was pretty polar.  Most kids really liked it and found it interesting. A reasonable amount did not like it all that much. I think this polarization can be explained by the students’ existing knowledge.  For those that had a hard time with the vocabulary being used in the tour, the tour was not very interesting.  Often times we adults don’t give enough thought into what vocabulary kids know, when giving talks or presentations.

Day 17 – Atomic Story

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Science 9 – I think the development of atomic theory over the years is an interesting story and highlights how science theories evolve over time.  Rather than memorize some facts, I like using activities like making a comic as a way for students to put thoughts and facts into their own words.  Students were asked to recreate this story using whatever method they’d like. Some did a comic, some did an instant messaging chat, some wrote a short story.

Day 21: Atomic Story Cartoons

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In Science 9, I had students read through their textbooks about the evolution of Atomic Theory. They each then had the option of completing textbook questions, workbook questions, or creating a Concept Map. Once I checked over their work, they moved on to an assignment/learning objective that would be assessed. The idea was for kids to complete a story using the characters Dalton, Thompson, Rutherford and Bohr. Most kids opted to do a cartoon, and the one above was done quite well.

I was pretty surprised by the cartoons I received. Most seemed to have missed the main points of Atomic Theory. While all the kids could answer questions about each theory/model, when the students were left to create their own dialogue they could not identify the significance of the models. For example, many kids said that Bohr’s idea was that the electrons were outside and not orbiting. Others weren’t able to communicate the idea that there was a steady progression of ideas.

Day 15: Concept Mapping Atomic Theory

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In Grade 9 science I decided to give students different options for learning a topic on atomic theory. They could either read through some of the textbook and answer chapter questions, they could go through their workbook, or they could use the textbook and some library books and put together a concept map.

Once this task was finished, I checked each student’s work and asked them a few questions. That was the formative assessment part of the lesson. Once everything was good, each student had an assessment activity to complete. For this, they had to do a cartoon, play or short story which features Dalton, Thomson, Rutherford and Bohr, discussing their theories. The idea was that by creating a dialogue, the students would have to synthesize their new knowledge into their own words, rather than copy sentences from another text.

I’ll see how the assessment goes. In the meantime, check out the concept map posted above. That was done by a student who says he’d never done one before. I gave him only minimal instruction on concept mapping and had shown him a few exemplars. I’m super impressed!