Teaching Through Trade Books: Codes and Communication: Radio Rescue

Contributor
Christine Anne Royce Lynne Barasch
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Lesson/Lesson Plan , Code , Informative Text , Activity
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

Radio Rescue tells the story of a young boy who works to learn Morse Code, obtains his ham radio license, then communicates with other radio operators around the globe and helps others along the way.  The lesson based on the story will enable students to experience how coded messages can be transferred over a distance, and to learn how astronomers use code to convey visual information.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 4
  • Upper Elementary
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-PS3-4 Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.

Clarification Statement: Examples of devices could include electric circuits that convert electrical energy into motion energy of a vehicle, light, or sound; and, a passive solar heater that converts light into heat. Examples of constraints could include the materials, cost, or time to design the device.

Assessment Boundary: Devices should be limited to those that convert motion energy to electric energy or use stored energy to cause motion or produce light or sound.

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
In the Explore phase of the lesson, students will build a simple transmitter which converts chemical energy (battery) to electrical energy and light. To fully address this Performance Expectation, it is recommended that students be given the opportunity to refine their devices to include sound. Refinements to include a tapping mechanism such as a switch or a key is also recommended to improve the messaging capabilities of their device.

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 Codes and Communication, this resource is paired with a lesson for Grades K-2. That lesson includes stations that are set up for students to learn and generate codes using three types of coding systems: Morse Code, Nautical Alphabet Flags, and Ciphers or Alphabet Codes. It is recommended that these stations also be implemented with this Radio Rescue lesson. This enables students to compare the codes in terms of advantages and disadvantages given different situations in a class discussion. Students then extend their learning to consider how codes are used when images are sent to astronomers from space-based telescopes. Students generate images using gridded squares that are coded, then share their images to compare how different colors affect the way information is interpreted.

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 will generate and compare different coding systems in terms of their advantages and disadvantages, given the constraints posed by the different situations in which a system is used.

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
Using a simple student-created transmitter, students will send, receive and decode messages to experience how digitized information can be transmitted over a distance. Extending the investigations to include how codes are used to transmit images from space-based telescopes enables students to experience how high-tech devices can convert digitized information into an image. This lesson extension can be found here: http://static.nsta.org/connections/elementaryschool/201712Grade3-5ImageColoringSheet.pdf The following resource from Chandra Education could also be implemented to extend student learning: http://chandra.harvard.edu/resources/handouts/constellations/activities/false_color.pdf

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 generate and compare different coding systems in terms of its advantages and disadvantages, given the constraints posed by the different situations in which a system is used. To fully address this Disciplinary Core Idea, students should be given the opportunity to optimize their transmitter.

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
To fully align the lesson to this Crosscutting Concept, comparison based on the similarities and differences in the patterns of code used in each coding system needs to be made explicit.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson engages students in generating and comparing patterns in multiple coding systems to make sense of information transfer in a variety of real world situations. It includes an engineering component that enables them to understand how digitized information can be transmitted over long distances. Performance Expectations for energy transfer can be seamlessly integrated into the lesson as they build their transmitter. Additionally, the integration of the story “Radio Rescue” enables multiple Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts to be addressed. To strengthen the alignment of this resource to the Next Generation Science Standards, the introduction of a phenomenon such as this is recommended: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Gjcs5R6aI Questions generated by the students’ observation of this phenomenon could then be used to drive their investigations.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson provides first-hand experience of phenomenon as well as a design challenge. Discussions that occur as they compare coding systems, as they transmit Morse Code using their device and compare it with the boy’s experience in the story, and as they compare their space images provide multiple opportunities for students to express their ideas. The lesson uses the 5E format which enable provides a progression for understanding the phenomenon. However, recommendations for differentiation of instruction are not provided. It is recommended that struggling students be provided with multiple opportunities to practice transmitting in Morse Code, and that patterns in the dots and dashes be made explicit. For example, the most frequent letter (i.e., e, t, a, n) have the shortest codes. The following resource is also recommended to assist students in understanding the transmission of messages into space: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/dsn-antennas/en/ Finally, the following resource is recommended for students that have exceeded expectations: How to Color Your Own Hubble Images: http://hubblesource.stsci.edu/services/articles/2005-02-10/

  • Monitoring Student Progress: In the Evaluate phase, this resource provides suggestions as to how student understanding can be assessed throughout the progression of the lesson. With multiple opportunities to assess the students formatively, having them reflect on their learning in a short constructed response is suggested to summatively assess the students.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include a technologically interactive component.