Reviewed by: Denise Kuehner (Oradell, NJ) on 3/11/2018 9:38:54 PM
This link no longer leads to the lesson described. The lesson does not seem to be available.
This lesson sequence involves student investigation of human reaction time and variables that may affect it. An intitial phase has students practice catching a dropped ruler and converting the distance it drops to the length of time it took to react. This provides an opportunity for data collection, graphing, and writing a conclusion. After this guided inquiry phase, students may conduct research on human senses and reaction time, or move on to designing their own investigations of the effects of variables of their choosing on their reaction times.
PLEASE NOTE - the link is to the CT Department of Education Science Curriculum page. Scroll to find that you can select Word, PDF, and Spanish versions of this resource under the title Grade 5 Embedded Task.
4-LS1-2 Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on systems of information transfer.
Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the mechanisms by which the brain stores and recalls information or the mechanisms of how sensory receptors function.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.
Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In this investigation, students model the process of animals receiving and responding to external stimuli by measuring the time it takes for them to catch a ruler after they see it begin to move.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.
Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
After a teacher-directed phase of investigation to practice measuring reaction times using a ruler-drop method, students plan and conduct their own investigations to test variables affecting reaction time they would like to explore. The investigation includes the written presentation of findings where students are able to use the data as evidence to support their conclusions. Teachers may also want to add a meaningful extension by providing an opportunity for student groups to present their data and conclusions to the class.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.
Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
In the Explore phase of the learning process, students' understanding of sensory input and processing is strengthened through research investigation. The initial investigation focuses on processing and responding to visual information, and this is the primary emphasis. The teacher should make explicit the idea that catching the ruler is an example of an animal's response to stimuli received by the eyes after it has been processed by the brain. Providing or eliciting other examples of how animals' responses aid in their survival would help deepen understanding. Other senses may be investigated separately or in combination with vision during the second phase of the investigation that is designed by the students.
This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.
Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Teachers should emphasize the connections to the Crosscutting Concept by focusing on the components of the nervous system and musculoskeletal system, and on the interactions between them. Students may require some background and/or review of these systems in order to understand how perceiving information is the domain of the nervous system and responding to that information requires the musculoskeletal system. It would also be helpful to provide the context that these systems also have their own subsystems, as well as being part of the larger human body system.