Students at OMS have been busy learning by doing in science classes. It’s one thing to listen to a teacher instruct and have a discussion with peers around science content and processes, but it’s another thing to actively engage students in what they are learning about. It brings learning to life and makes learning more lasting and meaningful.
In 6th grade, students are integrating technology into the curriculum as they learn about the periodic table and specific elements within the periodic table. Rather than simply learning about various elements through more traditional means, students had to research a specific element and create a presentation using a platform they may not have experienced before. Some students created their own website, while others filmed themselves using WeVideo, created comic strips with Pixton, used an ampped up power point type of online presentation with Emaze, produced a presentation using code, or created their own book on an element with Story Jumper. Click on these links to view a couple projects. Titanium, Chlorine.
In 7th grade, students are busy designing, building, and racing their own dragster! Through this unit, students are learning about the Forces and Interactions part of their standards and much more. The cars are propelled by CO2 cartridges so concepts of Newton’s 3rd law of motion will be evident for students to see. (3rd Law – For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.) The cars are also a great way to teach students scientific principles of motion in an engaging, hands-on learning environment. Through activities, labs, and discussions students will learn why certain cars are faster or slower than others. Analyzing all this data will foster questions and needed answers in friction, weight, and size of vehicle. Data collected will result in students analyzing and reading complex data tables. These skills are key components of the College and Career Readiness Standards . Students will graph their car’s results and analyze and report complex data. This allows students to interact with technology while engaging in high-level thinking skills needed in scientific predicting, unpacking data, preparing hard data-based conclusions, and presenting their findings. Furthermore, this activity brings in the engineering components of science when designing the car. Students are required to follow a spec sheet (complex data table) that gives minimum and maximum measurements for weight, height, axle placement, draw blueprints of their car, and trace the design on a wood block before it is cut. That’s a lot of learning packed into one unit!
While 7th graders are building and racing dragsters, 8th graders recently completed a unit on forensic science. They were presented with a murder mystery and worked in groups to figure out who murdered Ms. Lois McArthur. Students were presented with specific pieces of evidence collected at the crime scene and had to compare that to the evidence from a variety of suspects in the case. They had to investigate all of the evidenced gathered by the forensic lab and came to realize the complexity of crime scene investigation. Students created charts to analyze their evidence. They did a hair analysis, fiber identification, blood analysis, fingerprint identification, and handwriting analysis, and then summarized their findings of the evidence in a written report. This unit focused specifically on content and process related standards.
These are just a few examples of the great work OMS students are doing in science. Student learning is multifaceted and one of the best ways to engage students in their learning is to get them active and use what they are learning in real life situations or scenarios. The science team district wide is focusing on teaching science content through the processes of scientific investigation, interpretation of data, and evaluation of models, inferences, and experimental results. These are the college and career readiness standards in Science.