The purpose of this phase is to provide alternatives for summative assessments to measure whether students (individuals and/or teams) have achieved the intended learning outcomes and to assign grades. If the results of this assessment reveal significant student misconceptions and/or conceptual “holes,” the teacher can decide to reteach portions of the lessons or to incorporate these same concepts and skills into the next mini-unit.
LESSON LINKS TO THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS
Scientific and Engineering Practices
(Cognitive, social, and physical practices and skills to “do inquiry” in science and problem-solving in engineering)
Asking Questions (for science)
The questions that the teacher asks are important not only for their ability to focus and scaffold student learning, but also for the models they provide to help students learn to develop their own questions. A portion of the black/white board can be devoted to student questions and/or a question box can be prominently displayed for student use throughout the year as means of encouraging student writing as a tool to frame questions.
Developing and Using Models
This 5E mini-unit should be one of many that feature the use of models as tools for scientific visualization and understanding.
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
This 5E mini-unit provides opportunities for students to both generate their own empirical data and use and critically evaluate visual images and/or data provided by the teacher or other “authoritative” sources.
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
Science lessons provide an ideal context for students to learn mathematical skills and metric measurement related concepts in a real-world context. This mini-unit overlaps with expectations found in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
The Think—Write (individual) and Pair—Share (whole class) strategies coupled with the gathering of empirical evidence serve as two of many strategies to encourage arguing from evidence. It is important to teach students that ‘arguments’ in science are a cooperative venture to mutually arrive at the best answers by challenging and being challenged by peers.
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
The combination of gathering data directly via measurements and indirectly from text and Internet-based sources and the subsequent manipulation and communication of such data to an audience of peers is a key practice of both scientists and science students.
(Concepts that cut across major disciplinary core ideas in science)
Patterns; Scale, Proportion, and Quantity; Systems and System Models
Scale is the primary focus for this 5E mini-unit. Science covers the range of study from the infinitesimally small (i.e., atoms and subatomic particles) to the incomprehensibly large (i.e., the universe).
Disciplinary Core Ideas: Earth and Space Sciences
ESS 1: Earth’s Place in the Universe
This 5E mini-unit is designed as a first level introduction to the idea of scale as applied to astronomical bodies.
This 5E lesson has been developed from various sources including especially Activity13: 5E(z) Steps to Earth-Moon Scaling: Measurements and Magnitudes Matter (pp.231-258) in O’Brien. Thomas (2011). Even More Brain-Powered Science Teaching and Learning with Discrepant Events. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press. For free sample chapter downloads for each of the three books in this series (for grades 5-12), go to http://www.nsta.org/publications/press/brainpowered.aspx.
Note: The free sample chapter for the third book is a complete 5E life science mini-unit.