Assessment

There are many specific approaches, strategies and tools we can use to assess children’s conceptual learning. Some assessment strategies that we plan are using are context map, concept maps, written tasks, drawings, models, classroom talk and observation. These are all very important in ensuring that children are continually learning as well as to assess our teaching strategies. Context maps will help us to introduce the broader unit topic and explore it while concept maps will lead to discussion on the much narrower sub-units. Both of these will allow us to assess our children’s prior and background knowledge and allow us to create more effective activities. In addition, after each sub-unit we will use written tasks, drawings, and models. These will help us to see and assess children’s understanding and thinking as well as let them demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of outlets. Through the unit, we will observe the children in order to assess their understanding through their actions, talk and work. After the entire unit, we will engage in classroom talk in order to gain a deeper understanding of children’s understanding and help develop their discussion skills.

For each of the sub-units we will do different assessment activities. First of all, during our states of matter unit, students will create “oobleck”, observe how liquids can change form as well as work with a humidifier. During our natural earth material vs. manufactured materials unit, children will see how natural earth materials are important to our planet as well as see the damage manufactured materials do to our environment. Throughout these units, we will observe students at work in order to gauge their understanding as well as engage in a whole classroom talk to discuss the more difficult subject matter found here. During our water cycle unit, the students will make a model rain cycle in a plastic bag and during our basic atoms unit, students will create their own model of a basic atom. These will allow us to observe how well the students understand the water cycle and the structure of the basic atom. For our final project, children will create a sustainability project where they will develop a way to conserve water in their home. We will assess this project based on the knowledge and predicted level of success their project has.

Using these tools we will assess the students throughout the entire teaching of the unit. Before the unit, we will assess the children’s understandings so that we can effectively teach them things they do not know as well as further develop their knowledge of things that they do. To start off we can begin by having each individual student or as a whole class create a context and concept map. The context map would be used to address the topic of transformation. It would be used to connect the ideas of the states of matter, the water cycle, basic atoms and natural vs. manufactured earth materials. We would take this one step further through the use of a concept, which would explore the different key concepts of this unit. Through the use of these two pre-assessments, we would be able to gather information about the students’ thinking, understanding and skills. In addition, we would become more knowledge about the prior knowledge that students already have as well what activities would be appropriate to help children build upon that.

During the unit, we will continue to assess through observations, written tasks, models and drawings. We will listen to children’s classroom talk, understanding, thinking and actions. Through written assignments, models and drawings, after each sub-unit, we will gain valuable insight into the though process and comprehension levels of our students. We will monitor the students’ development and displayed understanding and adjust our planned activities accordingly in order to best meet the needs of the class and the individual. For example, during the water cycle sub-unit, the children will create a water cycle in a plastic bag, by correctly creating this model, the teacher will be more able to tell if children have developed a deeper understanding.

After the unit, we will assess our students’ learning as well as how well they developed their knowledge and skills as a result of our teaching. This is important because it helps us to reflect and assess the effectiveness of our teaching as well as our students’ learning. Assessing after the unit can help us to see the development of the individual children as well as show their potential growth to their parents. We will assess their overall learning through written tasks, drawing, models, classroom talk and observations. We will finish each sub-unit with a project, written task, model or drawing. We will finish the entire unit by talking about it in our classroom as well as assigning a sustainability project in the house, which should reflect all the learning that has occurred in the entire unit. We will continually observe the children throughout the unit and assess their understanding through their talk, actions and work.

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