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Understanding rocks and minerals should not be extended to the study of the source of the rocks, such as sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic, because the origin of rocks and minerals has little meaning to young children. Playgrounds and nearby vacant lots and parks are convenient study sites to observe a variety of earth materials.

As students collect rocks and observe vegetation, they will become aware that soil varies from place to place in its color, texture, and reaction to water. By planting seeds in a variety of soil samples, they can compare the effect of different soils on plant growth. If they revisit study sites regularly, children will develop an understanding that earth's surface is constantly changing. They also can simulate some changes, such as erosion, in a small tray of soil or a stream table and compare their observations with photographs of similar, but larger scale, changes.

By observing the day and night sky regularly, children in grades K-4 will learn to identify sequences of changes and to look for patterns in these changes. As they observe changes, such as the movement of an object's shadow during the course of a day, and the positions of the sun and the moon, they will find the patterns in these movements. They can draw the moon's shape for each evening on a calendar and then determine the pattern in the shapes over several weeks. These understandings should be confined to observations,.

The students are to observe and record information about the daily weather. He focuses on the aspects of weather that his teaching experience and knowledge from research on student abilities lead him to believe are developmentally appropriate, and he keeps a record of terms to help him modify his plans as the activity progresses. Students design instruments for measuring weather that are within the range of their skills and a parent provides expertise.

They make measurements using their mathematical knowledge and skills; they organize data in a meaningful way and communicate the data to other students. There is an ebb and flow of teacher-directed, whole-class discussions and small-group work sessions. In planning for the weather station, Mr. Because of their age, the students would not be studying the causes of weather change such as air pressure, the worldwide air currents, or the effects of land and sea masses.

Rather, over the course of the year, they would identify and observe the elements of weather; devise and use measurement and data collection strategies; build measurement instruments; analyze data to find patterns and relationships within the data; and communicate their work to the entire school. After a discussion of students' experiences with and ideas about weather, Mr.

The children quickly identified the need to record whether the day was sunny or cloudy, presence of precipitation, and the temperature. How much precipitation accumulated? How did temperature change during the day? What was the wind speed and direction? One student said that he had heard on the weather report that there was a high-pressure front moving in. What is a front, he asked, and is it important? At the end of the discussion, someone mentioned humidity and recalled the muggy heat wave of the summer.

When Mr. He wondered about the last two items—humidity and air pressure. Those concepts were well beyond the students' ability to fully understand, yet they were familiar with the words. Groups worked in the classroom and in the library; each group chose one aspect of weather for its focus. He encouraged the groups to get together and compare notes. Twice during the week, the whole class came together and groups shared their work while students critiqued and offered ideas.

Several weeks later, the weather station of the fourth grade was in operation. After much work, including some trial and error, library research, and the helpful input of a parent who was a skilled mechanic, the students were recording data twice a day for wind direction and speed, using a class-made anemometer and wind vane; temperature,. Design of the anemometer was extremely difficult.

It was easy to build something that would turn in the wind, but the students needed help in figuring how to measure the speed. The children were also measuring air pressure with a homemade barometer that a parent had helped one group construct.

Remain something interactive.

The interest of the student and her parent and the class' familiarity with the term seemed reason enough. The students recorded their data on charts in the classroom for 2 months. Then it was time to analyze the data, write the. Again, the work began with a discussion. What were some of the ideas that the students had about the weather after all this measuring and recording?

Were any patterns observed? Many students thought the temperature was getting lower; several noted that if it was windy one day, it rained the next day. As ideas were presented, other students agreed or challenged what was said. When the discussion quieted, he turned the students' attention to the list and asked them to think about which of the ideas on the board they might actually be able to confirm by reviewing the data.

They listed several and agreed on the following list for a starting place: Is the temperature getting lower? What is the relationship between the direction of the wind and the weather the next day? What happened when the pressure went down or up? Was it colder when it was cloudy? Several days later, the work was well under way. One group was working on a bar graph showing the total number of sunny, cloudy, and rainy days; another had made a temperature graph that showed the daily fluctuations and showed the weather definitely was getting colder; an interesting table illustrated that when the pressure dropped the weather usually seemed to get worse.

The next challenge was to prepare an interesting report for the school, highlighting all that had been learned. The weather class continued to operate the weather station all year. The students became quite independent and efficient in collecting data.

The data were analyzed approximately every 2 months. Some new questions were considered, and the basic ones continued. Midyear Mr. Not only did students learn to ask questions and collect, organize, and present data, they learned how to describe daily weather changes in terms of temperature, windspeed and direction, precipitation, and humidity.

Attempting to extend this understanding into explanations using models will be limited by the inability of young children to understand that earth is approximately spherical.

Earth Science: Crash Course History of Science #20

They also have little understanding of gravity and usually have misconceptions about the properties of light that allow us to see objects such as the moon. Although children will say that they live on a ball, probing questions will reveal that their thinking may be very different. Students can discover patterns of weather changes during the year by keeping a journal. Younger students can draw a daily weather picture based on what they see out a window or at recess; older students can make simple charts and graphs from data they collect at a simple school weather station.

Emphasis in grades K-4 should be on developing observation and description skills and the explanations based on observations. Younger children should be encouraged to talk about and draw what they see and think. Older students can keep journals, use instruments, and record their observations and measurements. Earth materials are solid rocks and soils, water, and the gases of the atmosphere. The varied materials have different physical and chemical properties, which make them useful in different ways, for example, as building materials, as sources of fuel, or for growing the plants we use as food.

Earth materials provide many of the resources that humans use. Soils have properties of color and texture, capacity to retain water, and ability to support the growth of many kinds of plants, including those in our food supply. Fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and the nature of the environment at that time. The sun, moon, stars, clouds, birds, and airplanes all have properties, locations, and movements that can be observed and described.

The sun provides the light and heat necessary to maintain the temperature of the earth. The surface of the earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons. Weather can be described by measurable quantities, such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation.

Objects in the sky have patterns of movement. The sun, for example, appears to move across the sky in the same way every day, but its path changes slowly over the seasons. The moon moves across the sky on a daily basis much like the sun. The observable shape of the moon changes from day to day in a cycle that lasts about a month. The science and technology standards connect students to the designed world, offer them experience in making models of useful things, and introduce them to laws of nature through their understanding of how technological objects and systems work.

This standard emphasizes developing the ability to design a solution to a problem and understanding the relationship of science and technology and the way people are involved in both. This standard helps establish design as the technological parallel to inquiry in science. Like the science as inquiry standard, this standard begins the understanding of the design process, as well as the ability to solve simple design problems. Children in grades K-4 understand and can carry out design activities earlier than they can inquiry activities, but they cannot easily tell the difference between the two, nor is it important whether they can.

In grades K-4, children should have a variety of educational experiences that involve science and technology, sometimes in the same activity and other times separately. When the activities are informal and open, such as building a balance and comparing the weight of objects on it, it is difficult to separate inquiry from technological design. At other times, the distinction might be clear to adults but not to children.

Children's abilities in technological problem solving can be developed by firsthand experience in tackling tasks with a technological purpose. They also can study technological products and systems in their world—zippers, coat hooks, can openers, bridges, and automobiles. Children can engage in projects that are appropriately challenging for their developmental level—ones in which they must design a way to fasten, move, or communicate. They can study existing products to determine function and try to identify problems solved, materials used, and how well a product does what it is supposed to do.

An old technological device, such as an apple peeler, can be used as a mystery object for students to investigate and figure out what it does, how it helps people, and what problems it might solve and cause. Such activities provide excellent opportunities to direct attention to specific technology—the tools and instruments used in science. Suitable tasks for children at this age should have clearly defined purposes and be related with the other content standards.

Tasks should be conducted within immediately familiar contexts of the home and school. They should be straightforward; there should be only one or two well-defined ways to solve the problem, and there should be a single, well-defined criterion for success. Any construction of objects should. Titles in this example emphasize some important components of the assessment process. Superficially, this assessment task is a simple matching task, but the teacher's professional judgment is still key. For example, is the term "wind gauge" most appropriate or should the more technical term "anemometer" be used?

The teacher needs to decide if the use of either term places some students at a disadvantage. Teacher planning includes collecting pictures of weather instruments and ensuring that all students have equal opportunity to study them. A teacher who uses this assessment task recognizes that all assessments have strengths and weaknesses; this task is appropriate for one purpose, and other modes of assessment are appropriate for other purposes.

This assessment task presupposes that students have developed some understanding of weather, technology, changing patterns in the environment, and the roles science and technology have in society. The teacher examines the patterns in the responses to evaluate the individual student responses. Match pictures of the following weather instruments with the weather condition they measure:.

Thermometers of various types, including liquid-expansion thermometers, metal-expansion thermometers and digital-electronic thermometers—used to measure temperature. Barometers of various types, including aneroid and mercury types—used to measure air pressure. Wind gauges of various sorts—instruments to measure windspeed or velocity. A student might mistakenly say that the thermometer measures heat or might not understand the concepts of air pressure or humidity. Students at this age cannot be expected to develop sophisticated understanding of the concepts of air pressure, humidity, heat, temperature, speed, or velocity.

Over the course of grades K-4, student investigations and design problems should incorporate more than one material and several contexts in science and technology. A suitable collection of tasks might include making a device to shade eyes from the sun, making yogurt and discussing how it is made, comparing two types of string to see which is best for lifting different objects, exploring how small potted plants can be made to grow as quickly as possible, designing a simple system to hold two objects together, testing the strength of different materials, using simple tools, testing different designs, and constructing a simple structure.

It is important also to include design problems that require application of ideas, use of communications, and implementation of procedures—for instance, improving hall traffic at lunch and cleaning the classroom after scientific investigations. Experiences should be complemented by study of familiar and simple objects through which students can develop observation and analysis skills. By comparing one or two obvious properties, such as cost and strength of two types of adhesive tape, for example, students can develop the abilities to judge a product's worth against its ability to solve a problem.

During the K-4 years, an appropriate balance of products could come from the categories of clothing, food, and common domestic and school hardware. A sequence of five stages—stating the problem, designing an approach, implementing a solution, evaluating the solution, and communicating the problem, design, and solution—provides a framework for planning and for specifying learning outcomes. However, not every activity will involve all of those stages, nor must any particular sequence of stages be followed.

For example, some activities might begin by identifying a need and progressing through the stages; other activities might involve only evaluating existing products. In problem identification, children should develop the ability to explain a problem in their own words and identify a specific task and solution related to the problem. Students should make proposals to build something or get something to work better; they should be able to describe and communicate their ideas. Students should recognize that designing a solution might have constraints, such as cost, materials, time, space, or safety.

Children should develop abilities to work individually and collaboratively and to use suitable tools, techniques, and quantitative measurements when appropriate. Students should demonstrate the ability to balance simple constraints in problem solving. Students should evaluate their own results or solutions to problems, as well as those of. When possible, students should use measurements and include constraints and other criteria in their evaluations. They should modify designs based on the results of evaluations.

Student abilities should include oral, written, and pictorial communication of the design process and product. The communication might be show and tell, group discussions, short written reports, or pictures, depending on the students' abilities and the design project. People have always had questions about their world.

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Science is one way of answering questions and explaining the natural world. People have always had problems and invented tools and techniques ways of doing something to solve problems. Trying to determine the effects of solutions helps people avoid some new problems. Scientists and engineers often work in teams with different individuals doing different things that contribute to the results. This understanding focuses primarily on teams working together and secondarily, on the combination of scientist and engineer teams. Women and men of all ages, backgrounds, and groups engage in a variety of scientific and technological work.

Tools help scientists make better observations, measurements, and equipment for investigations. They help scientists see, measure, and do things that they could not otherwise see, measure, and do. Some objects occur in nature; others have been designed and made by people to solve human problems and enhance the quality of life.


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Students in elementary school should have a variety of experiences that provide initial understandings for various science-related personal and societal challenges. Central ideas related to health, populations, resources, and environments provide the foundations for students' eventual understandings. Although the emphasis in grades K-4 should be on initial understandings, students can engage in some personal actions in local challenges related to science and technology.

Teachers should be aware of the concepts that elementary school students have about health. Most children use the word ''germs" for all microbes; they do not generally use the words "virus" or "bacteria," and when they do, they do not understand the difference between the two.

Children generally attribute all illnesses to germs without distinction between contagious and noncontagious diseases and without understanding of organic, functional, or dietary diseases. Teachers can expect students to exhibit little understanding of ideas, such as different origins of disease, resistance to infection, and prevention and cure of disease.

Children link eating with growth, health, strength, and energy, but they do not understand these ideas in detail. They understand connections between diet and health and that some foods are nutritionally better than others, but they do not necessarily know the reasons for these conclusions.

By grades 3 and 4, students regard pollution as something sensed by people and know that it might have bad effects on people and animals. Children at this age usually do not consider harm to plants as part of environmental problems; however, recent media attention might have increased students awareness of the importance of trees in the environment. In most cases, students recognize pollution as an environmental issue, scarcity as a resource issue, and crowded classrooms or schools as population problems.

Most young students conceive of these problems as isolated issues that can be solved by dealing with them individually. For example, pollution can be solved by cleaning up the environment and producing less waste, scarcity can be solved by using less, and. Central ideas related to health, populations, resources, and environments provide the foundations for students' eventual understandings and actions as citizens. However, understanding the interrelationships is not the priority in elementary school. As students expand their conceptual horizons across grades K, they will eventually develop a view that is not centered exclusively on humans and begin to recognize that individual actions accumulate into societal actions.

Eventually, students must recognize that society cannot afford to deal only with symptoms: The causes of the problems must be the focus of personal and societal actions. Safety and security are basic needs of humans. Safety involves freedom from danger, risk, or injury. Security involves feelings of confidence and lack of anxiety and fear.

Student understandings include following safety rules for home and school, preventing abuse and neglect, avoiding injury, knowing whom to ask for help, and when and how to say no. Individuals have some responsibility for their own health. Students should engage in personal care—dental hygiene, cleanliness, and exercise—that will maintain and improve health. Understandings include how communicable diseases, such as colds, are transmitted and some of the body's defense mechanisms that prevent or overcome illness. Nutrition is essential to health. Students should understand how the body uses food and how various foods contribute to health.

Recommendations for good nutrition include eating a variety of foods, eating less sugar, and eating less fat. Different substances can damage the body and how it functions. Such substances include tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter medicines, and illicit drugs. Students should understand that some substances, such as prescription drugs, can be beneficial, but that any substance can be harmful if used inappropriately. Human populations include groups of individuals living in a particular location. One important characteristic of a human population is the population density—the number of individuals of a particular population that lives in a given amount of space.

The size of a human population can increase or decrease. Populations will increase unless other factors such as disease or famine decrease the population. Resources are things that we get from the living and nonliving environment to meet the needs and wants of a population. Some resources are basic materials, such as air, water, and soil; some are produced from basic resources, such as food, fuel, and building materials; and some resources are nonmaterial, such as quiet places, beauty, security, and safety. The supply of many resources is limited. If used, resources can be extended through recycling and decreased use.

Environments are the space, conditions, and factors that affect an individual's and a population's ability to survive and their quality of life. Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad. Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans. Some environmental changes occur slowly, and others occur rapidly.

Students should understand the different consequences of changing environments in small increments over long periods as compared with changing environments in large increments over short periods. People continue inventing new ways of doing things, solving problems, and getting work done. New ideas and inventions often affect other people; sometimes the effects are good and sometimes they are bad.

It is helpful to try to determine in advance how ideas and inventions will affect other people. Science and technology have greatly improved food quality and quantity, transportation, health, sanitation, and communication. These benefits of science and technology are not available to all of the people in the world. Beginning in grades K-4, teachers should build on students' natural inclinations to ask questions and investigate their world. Groups of students can conduct investigations that begin with a question and progress toward communicating an answer to the question.

For students in the early grades, teachers should emphasize the experiences of investigating and thinking about explanations and not overemphasize memorization of scientific terms and information. Students can learn some things about scientific inquiry and significant people from history, which will provide a foundation for the development of sophisticated ideas related to the history and nature of science that will be developed in later years.

Through the use of short stories, films, videos, and other examples, elementary teachers can introduce interesting historical examples of women and men including minorities and people with disabilities who have made contributions to science. The stories can highlight how these scientists worked—that is, the questions, procedures, and contributions of diverse individuals to science and technology.

In upper elementary grades, students can read and share stories that express the theme of this standard—science is a human endeavor. Men and women have made a variety of contributions throughout the history of science and technology. Although men and women using scientific inquiry have learned much about the objects, events, and phenomena in nature, much more remains to be understood. Science will never be finished.


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Many people choose science as a career and devote their entire lives to studying it. Many people derive great pleasure from doing science. As a result of activities in grades , all students should develop. Students in grades should be provided opportunities to engage in full and in partial inquiries. In a full inquiry students begin with a question, design an investigation, gather evidence, formulate an answer to the original question, and communicate the investigative process and results.

In partial inquiries, they develop abilities and understanding of selected aspects of the inquiry process. Students might, for instance, describe how they would design an investigation, develop explanations based on scientific information and evidence provided through a classroom activity, or recognize and analyze several alternative explanations for a natural phenomenon presented in a teacher-led demonstration.

Students in grades can begin to recognize the relationship between explanation and evidence. They can understand that background knowledge and theories guide the design of investigations, the types of observations made, and the interpretations of data. In turn, the experiments and investigations students conduct become experiences that shape and modify their background knowledge.

With an appropriate curriculum and adequate instruction, middle-school students can develop the skills of investigation and the understanding that scientific inquiry is guided by knowledge, observations, ideas, and questions. Middle-school students might have trouble identifying variables and controlling more than one variable in an experiment. Students also might have difficulties understanding the influence of different variables in an experiment—for.

Teachers of science for middle-school students should note that students tend to center on evidence that confirms their current beliefs and concepts i. It is important for teachers of science to challenge current beliefs and concepts and provide scientific explanations as alternatives. Several factors of this standard should be highlighted. The instructional activities of a scientific inquiry should engage students in identifying and shaping an understanding of the question under inquiry.

Students should know what the question is asking, what. The students' questions should be relevant and meaningful for them. To help focus investigations, students should frame questions, such as "What do we want to find out about …? The instructional activities of a scientific inquiry should involve students in establishing and refining the methods, materials, and data they will collect.

As students conduct investigations and make observations, they should consider questions such as "What data will answer the question? In middle schools, students produce oral or written reports that present the results of their inquiries. Such reports and discussions should be a frequent occurrence in science programs. Students' discussions should center on questions, such as "How should we organize the data to present the clearest answer to our question? The language and practices evident in the classroom are an important element of doing inquiries.

Students need opportunities to present their abilities and understanding and to use the knowledge and language of science to communicate scientific explanations and ideas. Writing, labeling drawings, completing concept maps, developing spreadsheets, and designing computer graphics should be a part of the science education. These should be presented in a way that allows students to receive constructive feedback on the quality of thought and expression and the accuracy of scientific explanations. This standard should not be interpreted as advocating a "scientific method.

On the. This standard cannot be met by having the students memorize the abilities and understandings. It can be met only when students frequently engage in active inquiries. Students should develop the ability to refine and refocus broad and ill-defined questions. An important aspect of this ability consists of students' ability to clarify questions and inquiries and direct them toward objects and phenomena that can be described, explained, or predicted by scientific investigations.

Students should develop the ability to identify their questions with scientific ideas, concepts, and quantitative relationships that guide investigation. Students should develop general abilities, such as systematic observation, making accurate measurements, and identifying and controlling variables. They should also develop the ability to clarify their ideas that are influencing and guiding the inquiry, and to understand how those ideas compare with current scientific knowledge. Students can learn to formulate questions, design investigations, execute investigations, interpret data, use evidence to generate explanations, propose alternative explanations, and critique explanations and procedures.

The use of tools and techniques, including mathematics, will be guided by the question asked and the investigations students design. The use of computers for the collection, summary, and display of evidence is part of this standard. Students should be able to access, gather, store, retrieve, and organize data, using hardware and software designed for these purposes.

Students should base their explanation on what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should be able to differentiate explanation from description—providing causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence and logical argument. This standard requires a subject matter knowledge base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because developing explanations establishes connections between the content of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge.

Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment. She wants students to develop an understanding of variables in inquiry and how and why to change one variable at a time. This inquiry process skill is imparted in the context of physical science subject matter.

The activity is purposeful, planned, and requires teacher guidance. Students keep records of the science activities, and Ms. The students in Ms. One experiment in this study is designed to enable the students to understand how and why to change one variable at a time. One student—the materials manager—goes to the supply table to pick up a length of string, scissors, tape, and washers of various sizes and weights. Each group is directed to use these materials to 1 construct a pendulum, 2 hang the pendulum so that it swings freely from a pencil taped to the surface of the desk, and 3 count the number of swings of the pendulum in 15 seconds.

The notetaker in each group records the result in a class chart. Because the number of swings recorded by each group is different, a lively discussion begins about why this happened. The students decide to repeat the experiment to make sure that they have measured the time and counted the swings correctly. When the second set of. Again the class discusses why the results are different. Some of the suggestions include the length of the string, the weight of the washer, the diameter of the washer, and how high the student starting the pendulum held the washer to begin the swing.

As each suggestion is made, Ms. The class is then asked to design experiments that could determine which suggestion is correct. Each group chooses to do an experiment to test one of the suggestions, but before the group work continues, Ms. As the groups resume work, one group keeps the string the same length but attaches washers of different diameters and tries to start the swing at exactly the same place.

Another group uses one piece of string and one washer, but starts the swing at higher and higher places on an arc. A third group cuts pieces of string of different lengths, but uses one washer and starts the swing at the same place each time. Discussion is animated as students set up their pendulums and the class quiets as they count the swings.

Finally, each group shares with the rest of the class what they did and the data they collected. The class concludes that the difference in the number of swings that the pendulum makes is due to the different lengths of string. The next day, students notice that Ms. Across the top are pegs from which to hang pendulums, and across the bottom are consecutive numbers. The notetaker from each group is directed to hang the group's original pendulum on the peg corresponding to its number of swings in a fixed time.

When all of the pendulums are hung on the peg board, the class is asked to interpret the results. After considerable discussion, the students conclude that the number of swings in a fixed time increases in a regular manner as the length of the string gets shorter. After much measuring and counting and measuring again, and serious discussion on what counts as a "swing," every group declares success.

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Most students draw the pegboard with the pendulums of different lengths, but some students draw charts and a few make graphs. The next science class is spent discussing graphing as students move from their pictures of the string lengths, to lines, to points on a graph, and to a complete graph. Finally, each student is asked to use his or her graph to make a pendulum that will swing an exact number of times. Students have described, explained, and predicted a natural phenomenon and learned about position and motion and about gathering, analyzing, and presenting data.

Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of the relationship between two or more variables. Students should develop the ability to listen to and respect the explanations proposed by other students. They should remain open to and acknowledge different ideas and explanations, be able to accept the skepticism of others, and consider alternative explanations.

With practice, students should become competent at communicating experimental methods, following instructions, describing observations, summarizing the results of other groups, and telling other students about investigations and explanations. Mathematics is essential to asking and answering questions about the natural world. Mathematics can be used to ask questions; to gather, organize, and present data; and to structure convincing explanations.

Different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations. Some investigations involve observing and describing objects, organisms, or events; some involve collecting specimens; some involve experiments; some involve seeking more information; some involve discovery of new objects and phenomena; and some involve making models. Current scientific knowledge and understanding guide scientific investigations. Different scientific domains employ different methods, core theories, and standards to advance scientific knowledge and understanding.

Technology used to gather data enhances accuracy and allows scientists to analyze and quantify results of investigations. Scientific explanations emphasize evidence, have logically consistent arguments, and use scientific principles, models, and theories. The scientific community accepts and uses such explanations until displaced by better scientific ones. When such displacement occurs, science advances. Science advances through legitimate skepticism. Asking questions and querying other scientists' explanations is part of scientific inquiry. Scientists evaluate the explanations proposed by other scientists by examining evidence, comparing evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond the evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations for the same observations.

Scientific investigations sometimes result in new ideas and phenomena for study, generate new methods or procedures for an investigation, or develop new technologies to improve the collection of data. All of these results can lead to new investigations. As a result of their activities in grades 5—8, all students should develop an understanding of.

In grades 5—8, the focus on student understanding shifts from properties of objects and materials to the characteristic properties of the substances from which the materials are made. In the K-4 years, students learned that objects and materials can be sorted and ordered in terms of their properties.

During that process, they learned that some properties, such as size, weight, and shape, can be assigned only to the object while other properties, such as color, texture, and hardness, describe the materials from which objects are made. In grades , students observe and measure characteristic properties, such as boiling points, melting points, solubility, and simple chemical changes of pure substances and use those properties to distinguish and separate one substance from another. Students usually bring some vocabulary and primitive notions of atomicity to the science class but often lack understanding of the evidence and the logical arguments that support the particulate model of matter.

Their early ideas are that the particles have the same properties as the parent material; that is, they are a tiny piece of the substance. It can be tempting to introduce atoms and molecules or improve students' understanding of them so that particles can be used as an explanation for the properties of elements and compounds. However, use of such terminology is premature for these stu. At this level, elements and compounds can be defined operationally from their chemical characteristics, but few students can comprehend the idea of atomic and molecular particles. The study of motions and the forces causing motion provide concrete experiences on which a more comprehensive understanding of force can be based in grades By using simple objects, such as rolling balls and mechanical toys, students can move from qualitative to quantitative descriptions of moving objects and begin to describe the forces acting on the objects.

Students' everyday experience is that friction causes all moving objects to slow down and stop. Through experiences in which friction is. In this example, Mr. B makes his plans using his knowledge and understanding of science, students, teaching, and the district science program. His understanding and ability are the results of years of studying and reflection on his own teaching. He usually introduces new topics with a demonstration to catch the students' attention. He asks questions that encourage students to develop understanding and designs activities that require students to confirm their ideas and extend them to situations within and beyond the science classroom.

B encourages students to observe, test, discuss, and write by promoting individual effort as well as by forming different-sized groups of students for various activities. Immense understanding, skill, creativity, and energy are required to organize and orchestrate ideas, students, materials, and events the way Mr. And Mr. He wanted students to consolidate their experiences and think about the properties of substances as a foundation for the atomic theories they would gradually come to understand in high school. He knew that the students had some vocabulary and some notions of atomicity but were likely not to have any understanding of the evidence of the particulate nature of matter or arguments that support that understanding.

As he had done the year before, he began the study with the density of liquids. He knew that the students who had been in the district elementary schools had already done some work with liquids and that all students brought experience and knowledge from their daily lives.

To clarify the knowledge, understanding, and confusion students might have, Mr. For the first day, he prepared two density columns: using two 1-foot-high, clear plastic cylinders, he poured in layers of corn syrup, liquid detergent, colored water, vegetable oil, baby oil, and methanol. As the students arrived, they were directed into two groups to examine the columns and discuss what they saw. After 10 minutes of conversation, Mr. When the writing ceased, Mr. Do you have any explanations for what you see? What do you think is happening?

You need to think. It separated into different layers because each has different densities and they sit on top of each other. The discussion gave him a sense for what the students were thinking. It was clear to him that the investigations he had planned for the following weeks to focus more closely on density would be worthwhile. On each of the group's tables were small cylinders. B warned the students not to drink the liquid.

Each group was to choose one person to be the materials manager and one to be the recorder as they proceeded to find out what they could about the same liquids used the day before all of which were available on the supply table. Only the materials manager was to come to the supply table for the liquids, and the recorders kept track of what they did. Forty minutes later, Mr. Every group identified some of the liquids. The water was easy, as was the vegetable oil. Some students knew corn syrup, others recognized the detergent.

Several groups combined two and three liquids and found that some of them mixed together, and others stayed separate. Some disagreements arose about which liquid floated on which. One group replicated the large cylinder, shook it vigorously, and was waiting to see whether the liquids would separate. This time he gave a small object to each of four students—a piece of wood, aluminum, plastic, or iron.

He asked the class to predict what would happen when each of the four objects was released into the column. The students predicted and watched as some objects sank to the bottom, and others stopped somewhere in the columns. I don't want answers now," he went on, "I want you to try out some more things yourselves and then we'll talk. The students worked in their groups for 30 minutes.

Concepts of Earth Science & Chemistry Parent Lesson Planner U

The discussion was animated as different objects were tried: rubber bands, a penny, a nickel, a pencil,. When we dropped something lighter in, it stopped near the top. The rubber band is lighter than the paper clip. The paper clip is heavy so it drops down. The nickel went all the way to the bottom because it's heavier, but the pencil wouldn't go into the last layer because it was too thick.

The pencil is wood and it's lighter; the nickel is silver and it's heavier. Occasionally he asked for a clarification—"What do you mean by that? The next day he began the last of the introductory experiences. When the students came in, Mr. Beside each column were several pieces of wood of different sizes. Students were to think and talk about what the pieces might do in the column, try them out, have more discussion, and write down some of their ideas in their science notebooks.

When enough time had passed, Mr. Some students were struggling with what they had seen:. The pieces are not the same weight. The bigger ones are heavier. I don't know why they all stopped in the middle. If you have a block of wood and cut it into millions of pieces, each piece would have the density of the original block. If that block of wood weighed one gram and you cut it into a million pieces the weight would change.

But no matter how many times you cut something, the density will not change. When this statement was read Mr. Most students quickly asserted "yes. Others were not quite so sure. This piece was quite a bit bigger. One student asked for a show of hands. Twelve students thought this big piece of wood would sink farther and 16 thought it would sink to the same level as the others.

It stopped sinking where the others had. There were a few "yeahs," a few "what's," and some puzzled looks. As a final teaser and check on students' understanding, Mr. He asked the class to gather around, took a candle and cut two quite different-sized pieces from it. The students were asked to predict what would happen when the candle pieces were put in the liquids. Some students had predicted this result, saying that the bigger one was heavier and therefore would sink.

Others were perplexed. The two pieces were made of the same wax so they shouldn't be different. Something was wrong. Were the two liquids really the same? This time the little one sank and the big one floated. But he noticed several students were willing to explain the sinking of the larger piece of candle and not the smaller by the difference in the size of the piece.

They had seen the density column and worked with the liquids themselves; they had tried floating objects in liquids; they had seen the pieces of wax in the liquids. What was the explanation for all these phenomena? For homework that night he asked them to do two things. They were to think about and write down any ideas they had about what was happening in all these experiences. He also asked them to think about and write about examples of these phenomena in their daily lives. After the students shared some of their observations from outside the classroom, Mr.

Students also think that friction, not inertia, is the principle reason objects remain at rest or require a force to move. Students in grades associate force with motion and have difficulty understanding balanced forces in equilibrium, especially if the force is associated with static, inanimate objects, such as a book resting on the desk. The understanding of energy in grades will build on the K-4 experiences with light, heat, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the motion of objects. In , students begin to see the connections among those phenomena and to become familiar with the idea that energy is an important property of substances and that most change involves energy transfer.

Students might have some of the same views of energy as they do of force—that it is associated with animate objects and is linked to motion. In addition, students view energy as a fuel or something that is stored, ready to use, and gets used up. The intent at this level is for students to improve their understanding of energy by experiencing many kinds of energy transfer. A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample.

A mixture of substances often can be separated into the original substances using one or more of the characteristic properties. Substances react chemically in characteristic ways with other substances to form new substances compounds with different characteristic properties. In chemical reactions, the total mass is conserved. Substances often are placed in categories or groups if they react in similar ways; metals is an example of such a group.

Chemical elements do not break down during normal laboratory reactions involving such treatments as heating, exposure to electric current, or reaction with acids. There are more than known elements that combine in a multitude of ways to produce compounds, which account for the living and nonliving substances that we encounter.

The motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed. That motion can be measured and represented on a graph. An object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed and in a straight line. If more than one force acts on an object along a straight line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude.

Unbalanced forces will cause changes in the speed or direction of an object's motion. Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. Energy is transferred in many ways. Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing from warmer objects to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature.

Light interacts with matter by transmission including refraction , absorption, or scattering including reflection. To see an object, light from that object—emitted by or scattered from it—must enter the eye. Electrical circuits provide a means of transferring electrical energy when heat, light, sound, and chemical changes are produced.

In most chemical and nuclear reactions, energy is transferred into or out of a system. Heat, light, mechanical motion, or electricity might all be involved in such transfers.