Engagement, Inquiry, and End-Product

To engage children in this unit the teacher can begin by introducing the topic of transformation by asking students where they see changing aspects around them. Depending on the grade level of the students they may say anything from the changing seasons to the transformation of growing older. Once the student’s attention has been gained the teacher can explain that they will be looking at transformation in the states of matter, water cycle, basic atoms, and natural earth materials vs. manufactured materials. The student sustainability project at the end of the unit is also used to engage children in the unit. During that activity they will develop a way to conserve water in their home. This will bring everything to a close and tie in the water cycle as well as water as a natural earth material.

To engage children in each of the subunits there are meaningful activities for each topic. For example, to look at states of matter students will be creating a substance called “oobleck” to show something that is both a liquid and a solid. They will also be labeling things in their world around them as either a liquid, solid or gas. Other engaging activities include making a water cycle in a bag, and looking at the natural earth materials, rocks, soil, and water.

The approaches we will take to inquiry for this unit are primarily teacher-directed. The teacher has decided the subunit topics and what students will be investigating. However, the students are open to question anything within these subunit topics. Through the experiment of creating “oobleck” the students are investigating the liquid and solid states of matter. They are also inquiring about natural earth materials through their investigation of the how water soluble rocks and soil are.

The large end-product at the end of the unit is for students to create a sustainability project where they will develop a way to conserve water in their home. The goal is that they are able to conserve some amount of water from one month to the next. This very much incorporates the subunit on natural earth materials. However, there are smaller products that will come from each subunit. During the lessons on states of matter students will create “oobleck” as their final product. They will then make a water cycle in a bag for their end product of the water cycle. Lastly, during the subunit on basic atoms the students will create a model of the structure of a basic atom as well as a model of a water molecule made up of three atoms.

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