Fall 2009: Day 2

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Fall 2009-Day 1
Fall 2009-Day 3

Day 2 Topics

Daily Schedule
Establishing Cardinal Directions
Sky Journals
Diagnostic Questions- Sun/Moon and Science Pedagogy
Pinhole Cameras
Shadow Plots
Tracing Shadows
Homework Week 1

Peer Instructor Reflection
Fall 2009: Day 2
Written by: Katie Kizer

We began the second day of class by going on a field trip to the parking lot. Outside, we found where the sun was located at 9:30 am. Using prior knowledge that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, the students determined which way was North and which way was South. Michelle explained that it is important to face South when we are observing the sky because the sun will always appear to be in the South because we are in the northern hemisphere. I stood South of the students with my arm pointed at the sun. After cautioning the students not to look directly at the Sun, Michelle asked them to draw a picture of the setting around them, with a stick figure of me showing where the sun was located in the sky by the angle at which my arm was pointed. They included the date and time, and they predicted where the sun would be at the end of class. Emily explained that they should look to the sky and record what they see at least once every day. Next, we went back into the classroom to explore light and shadows. Emily passed out diagnostic questions to each student about the seasons, the moon, and why it gets dark at night. Also, she had them write down how they would define a “scientific explanation” and an “inquiry approach to learning and teaching.” After this, we touched on what we had done in the previous class. Going over how objects that block light somehow cast shadows, the students came up with some powerful ideas. They were only able to do this because they had observed these phenomena first-hand. One of the students wrote down the powerful ideas about light and shadows. Powerful ideas will come in handy in future explorations. They can always be added to.

Using an empty toilet paper roll, a piece of wax paper, and a piece of aluminum foil with a tiny hole in it, each student created their very own pinhole camera! We explained to them that they would be looking at a light bulb through their pinhole camera. Adam reminded Emily that each student needed to write down their predictions for what they thought they might see in their pinhole camera. Each student recorded what they already knew about light and what they thought might happen on their notebook journal sheets. When the rest of the lights went out except for the one bulb, students held up their pinhole cameras. They were amazed to see that the image of the light bulb appeared upside down on the wax paper! They wondered how this phenomena was occurring. In their small groups, they discussed the powerful ideas they had talked about earlier. Since the students knew that light projects from a light source in all directions, each group was able to draw a picture of what might have been happening. The students were on the right track, but were still having some difficulty understanding why the image had been reversed on the was paper. Emily, Michele, Adam, and I prompted the groups to think back to the powerful ideas they had formed and asked them “how” the light was getting through the pinhole. Eventually, they got it and came up with a new powerful idea! Light travels in straight lines! Each group drew on their whiteboards a picture of the pinhole phenomena and wrote a few words to explain their diagrams. They presented their discoveries to the rest of the class.

Once the clouds parted, we made another trip outside. Each person was given a piece of tag board with the end of a paper clip sticking up at the edge. When you set the tag board on a flat surface, the shadow of the paper clip end appears. The students made a dot at the end of the shadow and recorded the current time. The second thing we did outside was trace our shadows with chalk. Students predicted where they thought the top of their shadow would be at the end of class if they stood in the same spot. We asked them, “Why do you think your shadow will be there at the end of class?” They gave us their current knowledge about how the sun moves across the sky. Also, in the previous class, they noticed that shadows appeared diagonally opposite of the light source. So, they thought that their shadows would appear diagonally opposite of the sun. Each student pair also thought of some questions they might be able to answer by observing the sky. This was a good way to get students individual interests sparked and relate them to what we are learning about in class. I really liked being able to help the students aim themselves on the right path. The balance between giving them questions and letting them talk through their thought processes is a lot of fun. I noticed the more you relate a topic to what they already know/what they have already figured out, the more they are engaged in learning more. In any subject, this can be used as a building block. You can keep adding on to prior knowledge to keep students interested and excited.

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