Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Today's Science Adventure: Water Filters

Today, students will spend the morning learning science. While expected teaching schedules far outnumber the minutes in a day or energy in the room, we find we have to set aside big blocks of time now and then to teach science in a meaningful, productive, and positive way.

This morning students will learn science in the following way:
  1. Before school, I'll complete the final prep steps of distributing sand, charcoal, filters, water testing charts, plastic containers, cloth, and dirty water from a local water area to students' investigation buckets.
  2. When students arrive, they'll get their computers and headphones then go to the web page that includes videos and information related to today's water filter exploration. Students will have about 20 minutes to preview the videos and information.
  3. I'll spend some time upfront reviewing the STEAM steps and the attributes of what makes an optimal STEAM team. Students will watch Ideo's shopping cart video to see an example of a strong STEAM team, and then we'll discuss what we saw and how we can replicate those positive attributes with today's investigation. 
  4. They'll be a break to attend specialist subjects, a short recess, and then we'll start the specific exploration with a review of the investigation via words and videos.
  5. After that students, using paper guide books and video guides on their computers, will begin the investigation. I'll help as needed as students choose team roles, test the dirty water, design their filters, record their results on paper, collect their supplies, create and test a first iteration of their water filters, then, if time allows, create and test a second iteration, answer the conclusion and reflection questions about their investigation in the student packets, and pass in their lab packets for teacher review. 
I'm glad we made good time for this investigation, and I'll be watching to see how students apply the learning that came before this, learning about optimal teamwork, step-by-step lab work, and thoughtful, detailed lab book responses and diagrams. 

While teaching like this requires extra time, when done well, there is a lot of satisfaction because children are generally happily engaged and they learn a lot!