Using Argument-Based Inquiry Strategies for STEM Infused Science Teaching

Contributor
Mark McDermott Mason Kuhn
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Article , Experiment/Lab Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan
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 explains how one teacher guided students’ learning in a series of lessons on waves.  Three-dimensional learning is evident as they investigate a series of phenomena to identify the big idea that “There are multiple types of waves, some create movement, others exchange information, but all have patterns.”  Based on a focus question identified from their wonderings, students plan and conduct an investigation, and identify patterns as they analyze their data.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 4
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

4-PS4-1 Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move.

Clarification Statement: Examples of models could include diagrams, analogies, and physical models using wire to illustrate wavelength and amplitude of waves.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include interference effects, electromagnetic waves, non-periodic waves, or quantitative models of amplitude and wavelength.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Student engage in phenomena by rotating through 4 different stations that demonstrate different aspects of wave properties. Through this engagement, students identify the big idea that “There are multiple types of waves, some create movement, others exchange information, but all have patterns.” Students are then asked to design their own investigations to answer the question: How much does sound decrease when you move away from the source? The visual display on a decibel meter app could then be used to jumpstart the discussion about amplitude and wavelength. Students will then graph their data, which will show a pattern in the relationship of decibel level to distance. The teacher should guide students to investigate questions pertaining to both wavelength and amplitude, and develop models that explain these concepts.

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 plan their own investigation, which includes identifying variables, how to collect data, and determining the aspects of the investigation that need be controlled. Students use a decibel meter app to measure the sound produced by a handheld timer at 10-foot increments ranging from 0 to 60 feet. The decibel app provided quantifiable data and a visual display of the sound waves that served as the basis for an explanation of the phenomenon.

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

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students are encouraged to generate questions based on the big idea. Students discuss and generate questions in pairs before sharing and scrutinizing them as a whole class. Based on the criteria for a scientific question and material constraints, the research question that was ultimately selected for investigation was: “How much does sound decrease when you move away from the source?” As students conduct their investigations, they predict reasonable outcomes based on the patterns in the data.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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
The resource suggests that the visual display on a decibel meter app be used to jumpstart the discussion about amplitude and wavelength. Students will then graph their data, which will show a pattern in the relationship of decibel level (amplitude) to distance. The teacher should guide students to investigate questions pertaining to both wavelength and amplitude, and develop models that explain these concepts.

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Through their investigations, students observed that the farther away the timer was from the decibel meter, the lower the decibel level and the amplitude was. Patterns in the data were made more explicit for the students as they graphed their data.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource provides an excellent example of how instruction can engage students in three-dimensional learning to make sense of a phenomenon. They engage in the practices of asking questions and planning and conducting an investigation, and analyzing data. Through their investigations they discern that waves have patterns and that there are patterns in the data that enable them to understand the phenomenon. It should be noted that the use of the Facetime app to explore electromagnetic waves is outside the assessment boundary for this grade level. Another example of a mechanical wave (such as Slinky waves or rope waves) could be instead.

  • Instructional Supports: This resource engages students in the meaningful investigation of a question they generate about how sounds travel across a distance. The phenomena and representations of scientific information in this lesson support student’s three-dimensional learning. It provides multiple opportunities for students to express, clarify, and justify their ideas orally and in writing, especially as they generate their questions, plan their investigation, and generate claims supported by evidence in response to the question, “Why do you think sound waves produced less decibels the farther away they were from the timer?” Differentiation of instruction is not addressed, but the open-ended, collaborative style of the lesson will support most learners.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: An investigation design template is provided which students fill out independently, and it is suggested that teachers could use it to assess student understanding of planning investigations. An oral presentation checklist is provided. Students are asked to explain how a singer could break a glass using their voice to assess them summatively, but a rubric is not provided.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This is not an interactive, technology-based resource.