Assessing the Unseen

Contributor
Type Category
Instructional Materials Assessment Materials
Types
Article
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This article describes a six-day unit for first graders that integrates music, science, and literature to assess and develop first graders' knowledge of sound waves.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available by subscription - The right to view and/or download material, often for a set period of time, by way of a financial agreement between rights holders and authorized users.

Performance Expectations

K-2-ETS1-3 Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will design and build rubber band instruments and experiment with the design characteristics to produce the most pleasing sounds. Students are provided a design challenge of building a rubber band guitar; investigate the design characteristics of their rubber band guitars to improve sound; draw pictures of a bee, labeling where the buzzing sound originates; observe bees in a video to challenge (or support) initial explanations about how the buzzing sound is generated; gather information from text, video, investigations, an observations to construct explanations of how sound is generated; synthesize and communicate their understandings through a "sound fair: maintain journals that provide evidence of emergent thinking about vibrations and sounds; and engage with a variety of materials and activities to explore how sounds are caused by vibrations.

1-PS4-1 Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.

Clarification Statement: Examples of vibrating materials that make sound could include tuning forks and plucking a stretched string. Examples of how sound can make matter vibrate could include holding a piece of paper near a speaker making sound and holding an object near a vibrating tuning fork.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will design and build rubber band instruments and string telephones; explore and test designs to understand and explain how sound is made by vibrations of the string to rubber band; and observe buzzing bees to identify where sound is generated (from wings vibrating).

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students can observe bees in a video to challenge (or support) initial explanations about how the buzzing sound is generated as they gather information from text, video, investigations, and observations to construct explanations of how sound is generated.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students can draw pictures of a bee, labeling where the buzzing sound originates. Students will engage with a variety of materials and activities to explore how sounds are caused by vibrations.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students are provided a design challenge of building a rubber band guitar and will investigate the design characteristics of their rubber band guitars to improve sound.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will be able to engage in a variety of materials and activities to explore how sounds are caused by vibrations and maintain journals that provide evidence of emergent thinking about vibration and sounds.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will investigate sounds generated by animals to understand that sound is generated by vibrations.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will explore sounds generated from simple instruments and communication devices.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Have students look for observable patterns as they design the rubber band guitars. Students will engage in a variety of materials and activities to explore how sounds are caused by vibrations. A figure is included in the resource to illustrate how students made note of their observations.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: "This instructional unit exemplifies how the practices of science and engineering can provide the means to learn disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts in context. Intentionally planned formative assessments not only provided useful information for ongoing adjustments to instructional planning, but they also served as powerful learning activities. Through the use of rich, hands-on activities, well-selected children's literature, and physical response in assessments, all students were provided opportunities to learn and to communicate their understanding of these difficult, unseen concepts in physical science." Susan McCourt and Sybil S. Kelley

  • Instructional Supports: After completing this lesson students should be able to use materials such as containers and rubber bands safely to construct an instrument that makes sound and explain or demonstrate the role of the rubber bands in creating vibrations. This can be accomplished during class discussions, constructions of the instruments, and observations.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The authors created a template of the six lessons that include a learning objective, key lesson activities, materials/preparation, and assessment details. These resources can be accessed at the following website: http://www.nsta.org/elementaryschool/connections/201601McCourtUnitMap.pdf Lessons one through five include formative assessment suggestions and lesson six includes a summative one. In the article figures are included to show how students used journals to capture their observations and demonstrate their level of understanding throughout each lesson.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The authors provide additional information and resource links which can be accessed at the following website: http://www.nsta.org/elementaryschool/connections/201601McCourtUnitMap.pdf Four different videos are suggested to show animals making sounds: a beetle, bumble bee, a cricket chirp, and a lion roar. Students can use these videos to meet the Science and engineering practices where they can describe through drawing, speech, and/or writing how a particular animal is making a sound (vibration of body, air through throat, wings).