Last year before I turned over all class time to the projects, I spent five days reviewing skills the students would need for their experiments: evaluating research sources, forming hypotheses, interpreting graphs, and drawing conclusions. It was really helpful because as they needed these skills again in their experiments, we could recall together the skill review from earlier.
This year I want to make my skill instruction a lot more explicit, and much more evident from the beginning of the year instead of only right before the final projects. The resources from sciencebuddies.org have been really helpful, especially the rubrics that help me communicate to the students exactly what I'm looking for.
My first unit this year will focus on hypothesis forming. Along with the content for my first unit, my classes will perform these three activities:
- use the hypothesis grading rubric to evaluate an exemplar hypothesis
- use the hypothesis and variables worksheet to form a hypothesis in a quick lab, then evaluate their work with the rubric.
- read a short research paper on the content they've been studying to form a hypothesis they will test in their next lab period.