Energy, Matter, and Organization: Revising a Scientific Conclusion

We began class with an entry task asking students to ponder: where do trees get their mass from?  Students had some time to think about the question and write or draw pictures describing their ideas.  Selected students or small groups of students were asked to share their ideas publicly on the class white boards (pictures below).  The ideas were labeled as possible hypothesis statements.  Students then had to select the hypothesis they believed to be the most correct and then wrote a conclusive statement explaining their understanding of the science behind the hypothesis statement.

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We followed that with a video:

After the video, students received the first draft of their conclusions back for more focused editing.  Slides 3 and 4 of the attached slide deck helped the students focus their scientific writing on clearly articulating the claim, evidence, and reasoning for their revised conclusion.

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Writing a Scientific Conclusion – Day 2

Lots of writing today.  We began class with an entry task in which students were instructed to describe the trends in the data found in the graph on page 2 of yesterday’s case study.  Students were provided with the sentence frame:

Plants grown in _____ hours of light increased/decreased in height over _____ weeks.

After some private think/write time, students shared their work with their table partner.  Students selected at random were asked to publicly share their learning by writing an assigned trend sentence on one of the class white boards.  After we reviewed the example trend sentences for plants grown in 0, 12, 17, or 24 hours of light, students were provided with an EOC-style conclusion worksheet (page 2).  Students had 20-30 minutes of silent write time, and students who finished early were encouraged to exchange papers with a friend and look for the 5 elements on pages 4-5 of the conclusion worksheet packet.

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Writing a Scientific Conclusion – Day 1

Welcome to second semester!  It was nice to see everyone, and I look forward to a second half of the year equally as full of learning as the first half.  Today we turned our sights to the Conclusion section of a scientific lab report.  Writing a conclusion statement requires higher-level analysis and is a skill all students should master.  Additionally, the Biology End-of-Course Exam will test the ability of students to write a scientific conclusion statement.

After starting off the lesson with a nuts-and-bolts slide, students read through a fictional scientific experiment case study.  I had the opportunity to read through student lab reports from the Baggie Garden experiment this weekend, and there were a few common recurring items that required addressing.  The case study was written to include the following:

  • An incorrectly written research question
  • A hypothesis statement not directly connected with the research question
  • Many clearly defined controlled variables
  • A graph with data that conflicts with students’ experience from class

After reading through the case study, students publicly identified the research question (bottom of page 1), the hypothesis (first paragraph of page 2), and the experimental variables (manipulated, responding, and at least three controlled).  We will continue our work tomorrow, with students using their learning to write a conclusion statement.

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Lab Report Analysis and Discussion

Today students were tasked with completing their graphs, analyzing their graphs for patterns or trends, and then writing the Analysis and Discussion sections of their lab reports.  We started class with an entry task designed to help students identify possible sources of experimental error possible impacts of those errors on their experimental data.  We assembled a class list of those errors which can be located within the slide deck for today.  Students received a Discussion Section Organizer worksheet to help them write the discussion.  We will be in the computer lab in room 235 tomorrow to finish writing the reports.  Reports must be turned in by the end of the school day on Friday for credit.

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Lab Report Introduction and Graphing

Students were tasked with completing their lab report Introduction sections and creating a graph of their data.  Previously, students were instructed to write their own Introduction sections.  However, given the time constraints, students were encouraged to collaborate today and create one strong Introduction section per lab group.   Prior to collaborating, students reviewed one particularly strong Introduction section written by one of my students.  After completing Introduction paragraphs, students worked with their lab partners to create at least one graph of their data.  Many students used class time to work on the classroom computers, with encouragement to use Microsoft Excel as the graphing program.

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Friday Catch-Up

With the short Friday, students were directed to spend their time on one of the following activities:

  • Peer editing lab report
  • Continue typing lab report
  • Check grades in Illuminate
  • Check folder for missing work
  • Print out missing work

The semester ends January 23, the same day lab reports are due.  There is no school Monday, January 19, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Lab Report Introduction

I was home sick today, so my sub instructions are given below, and accompany this slide deck.

Slide 1 – Objectives are also written on the board by the door.  Yesterday, students learned that seeds require water, oxygen, and a certain temperature range to germinate.  We reviewed that seeds use cellular respiration available because of the nutrients in the seed to power seedling growth until the seedling can begin doing photosynthesis.
Slide 2 – Provide students with 3-5 minutes of writing time depending on engagement level.
Slide 3 – Partner share with lab notebook entry (slide 2).  For today, Partner B is seated on the window side of the desk.  Monitor discussions and select a few students to share out based on level of engagement and understanding.
Slide 4 – Remind students that in a seed, the nutrients used during cellular respiration are stored in the cotyledons which themselves cannot do photosynthesis.  The cotyledons fuel the seedling until it can begin doing photosynthesis to capture sunlight energy.
Slide 5 – Textbooks are located on a table in the back of the room.  There are enough for one per table, so students will need to share.  They should begin by reading pages 358-9 and taking notes on the three stages of cellular respiration.  Students may also continue reading (skimming or even just looking at the figures is fine) through page 365 if time permits.  The goal for the day is writing the Introduction paragraph of the lab report, so students should budget their time accordingly.
Slide 6 – Hand out the copies on my desk (one per student) to help the students structure their Introduction paragraphs.  Students should already have the Experimental Purpose, Research Question, and Hypothesis written in their lab notebooks.  The reading and their learning from class should help with the background content (the first few sentences).  Students who wish to type their paragraph may use the class computers.  Please remind students that we will be in computer lab 245 tomorrow, and they need to bring their Intro worksheet along with their lab notebooks which have their Materials, Procedure, and Data Tables.
Slide 7 – If time permits, during the last few minutes of class, request students who appear to have successfully written their Intro section to share the key ideas from their background section.  This will help students who need help narrowing their focus.