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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