Welcome back to the first normal week of the school year and the second week total. What I mean by normal is that all of the kindergartners will be here full time from this point forward. It also means that we are jumping full speed into the official curriculum, at least as far as science is concerned. I am scheduled to do social studies about three times a week so if I am not able to start this week, I will for sure the next.
Today's lesson: 4.P.1.1 (It is the North Carolina Essential Standard. It means: 4th grade, Physical Science, Standard 1, Substandard 1
"I can explain how magnets interact with all things made of ? and with other magnets to produce motion without touching them"
The students came in for the first graded assignment of the year in the guise of a warm-up. The following is what the students saw as they came in to begin class:
Please note that since today was an introduction, it is assumed that most students know about magnets but little about magnetism. Therefore, the students were not graded on whether or not they picked the "right" answer but instead on HOW they answered it. In other words, DID they explain WHY? Were complete sentences used? As the unit progresses and students learn more, the warm-ups will be graded more on accuracy since they will, by then, be expected to at least know the material that will have been covered up to that point.
Once the papers were collected, it was time to find out. The question of the warm-up was whether or not water and/or air made a difference in a magnet's ability to be attracted to something.
What I did was to try to replicate the activity in the warm-up by submerging a magnet in a bowl of water followed by paper clips. The students saw that magnetic attraction indeed works underwater and I asked them if they thought that magnets would work in a vacuum (no air at all). Below is a still shot and then a brief video from my third class:
Yes! I then showed them the answer key:
Afterwards, I asked the students to discuss in their groups what they think a magnet is and what magnetism is. After we discussed it, I showed them the video below which is an old "Bill Nye the Science Guy" episode.
After discussing the video, we got down to the independent activity. Each student was shown the graphic below and copied it onto a new page in their science notebooks. While I could have printed out copies and distributed one to each student, I felt it was better to try to conserve the copy paper that I do have, especially since it doesn't take long for students to copy a simple graphic organizer.
Each group of students was given a small plastic cup with various small items. The first part of the activity was to predict which of the items would be magnetic, or attracted to a magnet and which items would not be. Each group sorted the items according to their prediction. Some of the items were: plastic bead, nails and screws (steel and brass), wooden peg, space blanked piece, etc.)
Then, each group was given a magnet to test their hypotheses. Once they tested each item using the magnet, they sorted accordingly. The remainder of the class was spent on answering the two reflection questions below in their science notebooks:
1) What do the objects that are attracted to a magnet have in common?
2) What do the nonmagnetic objects have in common?
Though this was strictly about the students writing down their thoughts, the video taught them that magnets attract iron (plus nickel and cobalt).
I did go over the expectations and procedures again and will do so for the rest of the week. I am planning on doing one more focus on the Tuesday after Labor Day just to reinforce it.
Today is also the day that I officially began using ClassDojo. My homeroom is now at 20/22 or 91%. Thanks!
Below is a slideshow of the students from all three classes in action.