Sending Pictures With Waves

Contributor
Cary Sneider
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Lesson/Lesson Plan , Professional Development
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

 

These professional development materials focus on 1st and 4th grade activities pertaining to waves. This review only pertains to the 4th grade activity (using waves to send and receive digital images). In this activity, students design a method of sending a message across a large room using a string of 35 ones and zeros via sound, light, or some other method.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 4
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

4-PS4-3 Generate and compare multiple solutions that use patterns to transfer information.

Clarification Statement: Examples of solutions could include drums sending coded information through sound waves, using a grid of 1’s and 0’s representing black and white to send information about a picture, and using Morse code to send text.

Assessment Boundary: none

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In the activity, students design a method of sending a message across a large room using a string of 35 ones and zeros via sound, light, or some other method. Possible solutions: For sound, students could clap and snap the 1's and 0's. For light, students could turn flashlights on and off for the 1's and 0's..... etc. To enhance learning, the teacher may show this PBS video in which students are creating codes: https://mass.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ng09.math.algebra.pat.codes/creating-a-code/#.WkK331Q-d-U

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The words “criteria” and “constraints” are not mentioned even though the criteria are implied (participants need to make up a message that can be sent to the other half of your team). The teacher can include these terms, explaining what they mean if students are not familiar with them (and providing examples). For instance, the teacher might tell students that their constraints include being limited to the use of the 3x5 and 5x7 grids. Another suggestion to make the sharing of ideas more explicit is to build in a sharing time for participants. This could include think, pair, share; small group discussions; and/or a whole group science meeting.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Reflection questions are included with the activity (the first three are applicable for use with students). The teacher could use these questions as the focus of scientist meetings or small group discussions where participants can build on each others ideas and talk about how waves can be used to communicate information.

Crosscutting Concepts

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
An additional task and/or discussion might be looking for patterns in the different solutions and explicitly talking about them. Some potential questions to consider: “Is there a pattern that best meets the criteria for solving the problem?”

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) context and background information provides an engaging phenomenon for students to think about as they learn about communicating with waves. The activity integrates science and engineering as students design solutions to a problem pertaining to the disciplinary core idea. As mentioned above, more opportunities need to be provided for students to compare their solutions and for the crosscutting concept of patterns to be more explicit.

  • Instructional Supports: The activity engages students in an authentic scenario (communicating with students across the room) and gives some opportunities for students to share their ideas. No suggestions for differentiated instruction are provided. Background information is provided for teachers. One of the links is not working and should be replaced with http://multiverse.ssl.berkeley.edu/Solar-Week/Tuesday/Do-the-Activity

  • Monitoring Student Progress: No assessments are included. A formative assessment could be added to access student ideas before doing the activity.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: There are no technological elements to this resource.