The main reason that I created this blog is to help other teachers who are implementing NGSS. I have so many ideas, but have been struggling to focus them because my default mode is having 1,000 things going a once. A couple of weeks ago I decide to commit to developing a 5th grade NGSS aligned curriculum.
I LOVE the 5th grade NGSS! (Ew… did I really just type that?!?!) But really, I do. The standards are rigorous, but still allow for a lot of investigative play.
So I decided to start my 5th grade curriculum the same way that I would start my year with middle or high school. I always start the year by teaching the basics of the Science and Engineering concepts that students will use for the entire year. Having a little bit of background knowledge goes a long way in making the experimental design process run more easily throughout the school year.
The two major science and engineering practices that I like to teach early on are:
- Science and Engineering Practice 1: Asking questions (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
- Science and Engineering Practice 3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Asking Questions and Designing Solutions
In grades 3-5 students should be able to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific questions. Scientific questions are testable, while non-scientific questions are not.
Asking scientific questions is vital in the experimental design process because it is the starting point in any experiment. It is important that students start developing questions that:
- are specific.
- build on something they already know.
- can be tested within the walls of your classroom.
I have created this activity to help students to start to identify appropriate scientific questions.
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
The focus in grades 3-5 is on teaching students how to develop a “fair test”. Students should understand that only one variable should be manipulated at a time. If they have more than one manipulated (independent) variable, the results will be inconclusive. I have created this resource to help students to understand the components of a fair test.
Students should should also focus on making reasonable predictions using if-then statements. (If-then hypothesis coming soon!)
Experimental Design Bundle
Both of these products work well in an interactive notebook. I have placed them together in a growing bundle on my teachers pay teacher store. I plan on adding more experimental design activities throughout the summer so that you have plenty of resources to use next year. A growing bundle means that you will have all future resources, but you only pay for the ones that are available today.