Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Inquiry and Teaching Science (545--Ch 8 Prompt)

1) Propose definition of inquiry that you would use with your high school students.

I would have the students come up with a definition of inquiry in a brainstorming session. I would start with a Think-Pair-Share. First, I would have students respond to the question, “What is scientific inquiry?” by writing in their journals. Students would then share their response with a partner and then the class. I would jot their responses down on the board and guide them to a class definition.
The important things to include in the definition are as follows: Inquiry-based science mimics the way real scientists think about and investigate scientific problems. The learning is almost exclusively student-centered and relies on innate human curiosity about the nature of how things work. The teacher usually begins with an open-ended question for the class that gets students thinking (brainstorming). The teacher acts more as a guide to help students develop their questions, hypotheses, and experimental design. Then, students work together in teams to conduct their experiments. Each team may have a different experiment. Finally, students present their findings to the class, and the class reviews and critiques the explanations.
Inquiry-based instruction has many advantages to deductive reasoning and direct instruction of traditional science classrooms. First, students are much more engaged since they are given complete ownership of their projects, outcomes, and thought processes. Second, students are challenged to use higher-order thought processes, such as problem-solving and critical-thinking. Third, students get to work together in groups, an activity most high school students enjoy. In addition, this teaches students invaluable collaborative and cooperative skills. Students must present their findings to the class and review each other’s findings, giving students a more complete picture of how scientists conduct investigations. Finally, because students are more engaged and exposed to new content through different learning modalities, students are more likely to have long-lasting retention of what they’ve learned.

Mini-Lesson Plan (Biology): Investigation of Acids & Bases
Acids and bases can be taught to students using an inquiry-based lab. This would be Level 2 with some teacher guidance. Students will be assessed on their ability to conduct inquiry based on their lab reports and presentations. In addition, this will also assess their conceptual understanding of acids and bases. To briefly summarize, students will do an inquiry-based lab to test the pH of common household items. Then, they would be asked to design their own experiment to test the effectiveness of different antacids. For enzymes, the next lesson, students will do an inquiry-based lab to test the effectiveness of enzymes in laundry detergent.

Student Connection:
Students learned about water the day before. In addition, they learned about ant-acids dissolving in water last week, during the “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz” lab. We will connect that to teaching students about how antacids work to quench a stomach-ache. Students will learn that their stomach has a pH of 1, and, if it weren’t for the mucosal lining of our GI tract, we would have huge holes in our stomach linings. In fact, people who suffer from that have “ulcers”. Connecting acids and bases to our human bodies makes the content interesting to students because it’s relevant to their bodies.

Enduring Understanding:
Students will understand what acidic, basic, and neutral solutions are. Students will understand how antacids reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. Students will understand how pH is related to hydrogen and hydroxide ion concentrations.

Essential Questions:
  1. What are acidic and basic solutions? What is a neutral solution?
  2. How would you increase the pH of a solution? How would you decrease the pH?
  3. What is the hydrogen ion concentration like in an acidic solution? In a basic solution?
  4. What is the hydroxide ion concentration like in a basic solution? In an acidic solution?

Instructional Strategies:
Provide content with a PowerPoint presentation, process (quick write & share in response to questions embedded in the presentation), and product (Acids and Bases laboratory activity; Unit 2 Quiz). Graphic organizer for properties of acidic vs. basic solution.

Student Activities:
Provide supports for varied readiness levels (visual and auditory presentation, think-quick-write-share at end of presentation), learning profiles and interests (visual and auditory presentation; lab for hands-on learning (kinesthetic)). Complete graphic organizer on properties of acids and bases. Unit 2 quiz to check for understanding and identify areas to review before test next week.

Content Standards:
Grades 9 & 10 Biology
1: “Cell Biology”
b. “Students know that enzymes are proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions without altering the reaction equilibrium and the activities of enzymes depend on the temperature, ionic conditions, and the pH of the surroundings."
h.  “Students know most macromolecules (polysaccharides, nucleic acids proteins, lipids) in cells and organisms are synthesized from a small collection of simple precursors.” (State Board of Education, 2002).

By the end of this unit students will be able to:
·       Explain what acidic and basic solutions are.
·       Explain what pH measures.
·       Compare acidic and basic solutions in terms of their hydrogen and hydroxide ion concentrations.

Assessment Plan:
Entry Level—Students will start with a warm-up activity by summarizing their notes on water from the day before. The teacher will check for understanding by calling on three students to share their summaries.

Formative—The teacher will check for understanding periodically by including questions on slides embedded in the PowerPoint presentation. Students will “think-quick-write-share” in response to these questions. In addition, the exit ticket will include calling on students at random to answer questions written in the margins of their Cornell-style notes, such as:
a.     What is the difference between acidic and basic solutions?
b.     What does pH measure?
c.      Describe the hydrogen ion concentration of an acidic and a basic solution.
d.     Do the same for hydroxide ion concentration.

Summative—Students will complete a lab on Acids and Bases, which will be peer graded as students present their findings to the class.

1.     PowerPoint presentation, “pH”
2.     Acids and bases lab

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