Elementary Series: What the Youngest of
Learners Can Do

In our elementary series we have three sets of video for you. Can 5, 6, and 7-year olds engage in scientific practices? With the right support they can do amazing things.

 

K-2 Modeling Series

These provide a glimpse inside kindergarten and 1st/2nd-grade classrooms that are developing scientific models to make sense of and more deeply explain a real-world phenomenon over time. The kindergartners in Ms. Tomokiyo’s class at Southern Heights Elementary School in Seattle, Washington, are seeking to understand how a puddle on the grass appears and disappears over the course of a day.

The overview video describes scientific modeling in these classrooms and how to support the revision of students’ ideas over time.

In the first strategy video, we see students using share-outs and discussion spotlights to learn from each other. As you watch, think about how share-outs of models can be more than “show and tell.”

The second strategy video shows students engaging in an interactive read aloud. As you watch, think about how you can use informational texts to support scientific sense-making. Pay special attention to how students critique science ideas and representations from the books.

K-2 Argumentation Series

In our next series, we share key principles and strategies for engaging K-2 students in the practice of scientific argumentation with explanatory models. We join a second grade scientific community in the midst of exploring a real-life question: What caused the town of Moncton to flood? As they pursue answers to this question, you’ll see that students are not making arguments about isolated observations (e.g., which kind of soil water flows through fastest), but rather arguments that connect to their explanatory models of the phenomenon (the flooding of Moncton).We call this “model-based CER (Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning),” where argumentation occurs in service of developing models of phenomena and supporting deeper, more interconnected science learning.

The overview video gives a bird’s-eye view of the unit and how students can be supported in making arguments about a phenomenon at the beginning, middle, and end of a unit. As you watch, consider the following questions:

Our third series we call “foothold” practices for elementary teachers. Footholds refer to beginning routines that teachers use with students, to introduce them to ambitious work (both the teacher and the students). These routines boost participation by students and expand the rigor of the work they can do together, while being manageable for the teacher who is attempting new practices. Teachers then become comfortable with these ways of supporting intellectual work and create variations on these practices, often creating innovations that can get spread throughout the AST Community. Footholds lead to the use of other AST routines that extend the power of these initial practices.

Foothold Practices

Related Series and Guides

Try these small shifts in teaching practice with big impacts. Each video is about 7-10 minutes long and is designed to be a quick way to get your toes wet with the Ambitious Science Teaching practices. You will recognize familiar practices (such as using vocabulary or doing gallery walks) but the teachers in these videos are taking these practices one-step further. Each video breaks down the practice by describing the talk, task and tools used and provides teacher tips. Be sure to share your variations of these practices on the AST website!
An example of how oral prompts and written scaffolds elicit student thinking by eliciting students’ science ideas at the beginning of a unit which helps the teacher makes future instructional decisions in light of the partial understandings, everyday language, and everyday experiences they share.

4th/5th           Circuits & Pathways

Science Teaching Practice: Eliciting Students’ Science Ideas

NGSS: 4-PS3-2 & 4-PS3-4; Science Practices- developing models)

An example of how oral prompts and written scaffolds elicit student thinking by eliciting students’ science ideas at the beginning of a unit which helps the teacher makes future instructional decisions in light of the partial understandings, everyday language, and everyday experiences they share.

4th/5th           Circuits & Pathways

Science Teaching Practice: Eliciting Students’ Science Ideas

NGSS: 4-PS3-2 & 4-PS3-4; Science Practices- developing models)

An example of how oral prompts and written scaffolds elicit student thinking by eliciting students’ science ideas at the beginning of a unit which helps the teacher makes future instructional decisions in light of the partial understandings, everyday language, and everyday experiences they share.

4th/5th           Circuits & Pathways

Science Teaching Practice: Eliciting Students’ Science Ideas

NGSS: 4-PS3-2 & 4-PS3-4; Science Practices- developing models)

Eliciting students’ everyday and academic language to understand how they are initially understanding a science phenomenon. Students use particular vocabulary to communicate their ideas. Teacher chooses to respond by using students’ words, instead of introducing science words, at this point in the unit.  Interview with teacher debriefing her decisions included.

6th

Force & Motion (acceleration, momentum, inertia)

Eliciting Students’ Ideas; Academic Language  Science talk, Science Vocabulary

NGSS: MS-PS2-1 & MS-PS2-2

Eliciting students’ everyday and academic language to understand how they are initially understanding a science phenomenon. Students use particular vocabulary to communicate their ideas. Teacher chooses to respond by using students’ words, instead of introducing science words, at this point in the unit.  Interview with teacher debriefing her decisions included.

6th

Force & Motion (acceleration, momentum, inertia)

Eliciting Students’ Ideas; Academic Language  Science talk, Science Vocabulary

NGSS: MS-PS2-1 & MS-PS2-2

Eliciting students’ everyday and academic language to understand how they are initially understanding a science phenomenon. Students use particular vocabulary to communicate their ideas. Teacher chooses to respond by using students’ words, instead of introducing science words, at this point in the unit.  Interview with teacher debriefing her decisions included.

6th

Force & Motion (acceleration, momentum, inertia)

Eliciting Students’ Ideas; Academic Language  Science talk, Science Vocabulary

NGSS: MS-PS2-1 & MS-PS2-2

Critiquing models and receiving peer review helps students question their own understanding of science concepts and identify gaps in their own understanding   This video shows one way for students to give and receive critiques of their evidence-based scientific explanations. For this gallery walk, students will be critiquing each other’s models of flashlight circuits.

4th/5th

Circuits & Pathways

Developing and Critiquing Models; Revising Student’s initial ideas

Comparing how students use and have heard science terms in their everyday lives with how we use them in science      This video shows an example from a 6th grade physics classroom where students are asked to compare how they’ve heard the words speed, velocity, and acceleration used in their everyday lives with how they use them in science.

6th

Force & Motion (acceleration, momentum, inertia)

Academic Language

Science talk, Science Vocabulary

NGSS MS-PS2-1 & MS-PS2-2

When teaching in a way that is responsive to student ideas, it is unsurprising that students will disagree.  Engaging students in productive talk about their disagreement allows students to broaden their understanding about a key science idea.      This video provides an example of one way for teachers to engage students in talk that will compare and contrast their opposing hypotheses.

4th/5th

Circuits & Pathways

Science Teaching Practice: Constructing evidence-based explanations

NGSS: Science Practice – Debate/Argumentation using evidence

This video shows how students generate items for the “gotta have” checklist using participation structures such as pair-share along with writing in science notebooks.  Students will use items on this checklist to help them write their explanation.  This activity can serve as a prewriting activity for writing a scientific explanation

4th/5th

Circuits & Pathways

Science Teaching Practice: Constructing Evidence-based explanation

NGSS: Science Practice – Constructing Evidence-based explanation

Developing and revising models during a science unit helps students recognize how their thinking has changed overtime in light of evidence from classroom activities. This video shows an overview of a 3rd grade Sound Unit from Day 1 where students develop their initial models about a phenomenon (“Why can a singer shatter a glass with his voice?”), to a mid-point where students revise their model using more detail, and finally how they work in groups to construct a full explanation of the phenomenon using sentence starters to scaffold writing claims with evidence.

Related Series and Guides

 

Your browser is out of date. It has security vulnerabilities and may not display all features on this site and other sites.

Please update your browser using one of modern browsers (Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox, IE 10).

X