Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hands-On Science Inquiry - Soil

We have been learning all about rocks and soil in Science lately. The kids have been so into it and it was great to see. After a few days, it was time for a science inquiry lesson. The inquiry was basically in the students hands and it was great to hear and see their thoughts and opinions on how to complete this inquiry!

Pictures of the inquiry lesson are below. See how my class completed the lesson!

I decided to split the inquiry lesson into two days.The first day we reviewed the three types of soil we had been learning about (humus, clay, and sand). I passed out the three types of soil for students to see, touch, smell, etc. We made a chart to discuss the similarities and differences of each. I asked students to discuss which soil they thought would be better for growing a seed.

We reviewed the steps of an investigation and came up with questions - How do soils differ? Which soil is better for growing a lima bean seed? Next, it was time for our hypothesis. I let the students come up with their own hypothesis. I wanted to see what they predicted without any help from me. I had students share their hypothesis with their groups. They had to explain why they thought that soil would be best. Some students used that information to change their hypotheses while others defended their thoughts. Lastly, I asked students to think how we could figure out how to test out our questions. They came up with some great ideas and two groups actually came up with the idea we would use on the second day.

For the second day, students reviewed their hypotheses. Each group was given three cups and three types of soil. The groups determine how much soil should be put in each cup. Next, they were given the lima bean seed  and had to decide how to plant it in the soil. Then the groups had to decide how much water to give each cup. This was where a lot of the groups differed. Some groups put it way too much water, while others didn't put in near enough. I wanted this inquiry to be in their hands while i was an observer and helped if need be. Once they were done planting and watering their soils, they had to pick the best place in the classroom to have their plants.

Everyday it is their job to remember to water their seeds and determine how much water each one needs. Everyday they are going to record what they seeds look like and see if they think their hypothesis will be correct/ incorrect and why. After a week, we will see which seeds grew the best and why. Students will record their observations and communicate their results.

I think it is so important to have the students do the inquiry on their own. They learn that mistakes are normal and accepted!

Here are some pictures from the actual inquiry lesson - Enjoy!

- Kate

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