Jan 31

NGSS and Rocketry

This post was originally published on the WA State CORELaborate site!

A STEM Partnership and Rocketry
This is my second year as one of the teachers of OESD 114’s Olympic STEM Pathways Partnership (OSPP). This past summer we got to work with UW Earth Science professors through a NASA-funded consortium! One of the activities we engaged in was rocketry. We got to build bottle rockets and launch them! It was so much fun! They encouraged us to have our students build and launch bottle rockets and since I teach physical science it seemed a perfect fit to our study of forces and motion.

NGSS Alignment
At the summer training we looked at the NGSS Standards that align to rocketry and bottle rockets in particular. Here’s what I found on the Middle School Physical Science Storyline for Forces:
The performance expectations in PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions focuses on helping students understand ideas related to why some objects will keep moving, why objects fall to the ground and why some materials are attracted to each other while others are not. Students answer the question, “How can one describe physical interactions between objects and within systems of objects?” At the middle school level, the PS 2 Disciplinary Core Idea from the NRC Framework is broken down into two sub – ideas: Forces and Motion and Types of interactions. By the end of middle school, students will be able to apply Newton’s Third Law of Motion to relate forces to explain the motion of objects. Students also apply ideas about gravitational, electrical, and magnetic forces to explain a variety of phenomena including beginning ideas about why some materials attract each other while others repel.

NGSS MS-PS2 Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
For the Motion and Stability standard the performance expectation MS-PS2-2, “Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object,” seemed the best fit for bottle rockets.

I also chose to focus students on the following performance expectation, 3-PS2-1, “Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.

Necessary Equipment
In order to launch bottle rockets with students we needed a few things. Families are really good about donating 2L soda bottles and I collected cardboard for weeks and gathered masking tape, construction paper and thicker cardstock. Kids were also encouraged to bring whatever else they might need. Some kids brought colorful duct tape, for example. With one of the UW professor’s help I asked my principal if we could purchase the equipment we would need to this and he approved it so we bought the following:

1 Launch Pad $50
2 Altitude Trackers $13 each for $26
1 Air Pump with Gauge $25

That’s it! With shipping and tax it all cost $137! Not bad at all.

Building the Rockets
I didn’t want to structure the building of the Bottle Rockets like I did the Bottle Flipping lab so kids did not use the Inquiry Boards. We did it more like a Makerspace where I provided the materials, gave them some websites to research (this one and this one to get them started), then let them create.

img_9478 img_9479 img_9480 img_9481 img_9487 img_9494 img_9495 img_9496 img_9497

Launch Day!
On launch day we went out to the football field and had a blast! The most difficult part was having kids use the altitude trackers. They seemed pretty easy enough. I showed the kids how to use the tracker, gave them a clipboard to record the altitudes, then let them handle it. I ordered two trackers and had two kids gather data to make sure the data was at least close. The trackers I bought are to be used at 500 ft from the bottle rockets for high flying rockets. We were on a football field and didn’t have 500 ft so we launched from the 50 yard line and had the trackers at the end zones. If you use the altitude trackers at 250 ft you need to divide the altitude by two so I did that even though it wasn’t exact. It was all just to see which rockets went the highest so it was all good.

Here’s some footage of the launches:

Student Conclusions!
After the launch students were to write a CER Conclusion to figure out what made their rocket fly the way it did. Once we narrow some variables down we will go back out and get more deliberate about having only one manipulated variable, such as the amount of water in the bottle, to see how that affects how high the rocket goes.

Here are a few CER Conclusions that kids have already written:

We launched a bottle rocket that had water in it. We pumped air into it so that the air pressure would make it go high. My claim is that the less water you have the rocket will go higher. My evidence is that my rocket was half full and it went up 29 meters, Shelby and Brody’s rocket was ¼ full of water and it went up 43 meters. I think this happened because there was more air in their rocket so there was more pressure for the rocket to go higher up. My evidence supports my claim because it shows that their rocket had less water and it went higher and my rocket had more water and didn’t go as high.

We created our own bottle rockets with a cone, wings and some water to put in the rocket, then we launched them. My claim is I learned that the more water you have works better than less water. My evidence is when I launched my rocket I saw that the people that had more water went up higher and the ones with less did not go as high. I think this happened because the more water you have the longer it can keep pushing the rocket higher and higher if you don’t have that much water all your water will not last as long. My evidence supports my claim because it is evidence that I got to see myself.

We launched bottle rockets in the football field. My claim is that the rocket turns the way that the wind blows. My evidence is our bottle rocket turned and flew to the direction the wind was blowing. I think this happened because the bottle rocket is light and strong winds can blow most light things in the direction that it is blowing. My evidence supports my claim because when the wind blew a CERtain way (hahaha) the bottle rocket flew the same way.

The amount of water in the bottle is an easy variable to change and seems the most popular one that students noticed. Pretty cool!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2017/01/31/ngss-and-rocketry/

Jan 30

Diigo Links (weekly)

Here’s another week of incredible resources! Check them out:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2017/01/30/diigo-links-weekly-51/

Jan 23

Diigo Links (weekly)

Great stuff here! Check out this week’s resources:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2017/01/23/diigo-links-weekly-50/

Jan 15

Diigo Links (weekly)

Here are more resources for this week:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2017/01/15/diigo-links-weekly-49/

Jan 11

Differentiating with Google Classroom

I just found out about an update to Google Classroom from THE Journal that allows teachers flexibility in pushing out assignments to students!

So now when I add an assignment, question, or post I can send it to the entire class OR I can select individual students, or a single student, to send it to!



That’s pretty cool! On THE Journal article, they shared how one teacher used this new feature to assign different levels of questions to her students or to assign more or fewer assignments to students depending on readiness. She also was able to push out answer keys to students as they were ready for them!

Other updates mentioned in the article include admin reports for Google Classroom. While I do have admin privileges for my school’s G Suite account I don’t access it very often. When I checked on reports all I saw was a report for apps and their usage. Google Classroom was there. There might be more to it since I’m not that familiar with many G Suite admin features.

Good news for users of Flat.IO, Classcraft, or Little SIS (couldn’t find this service) – Google Classroom now has integration with those services!


Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2017/01/11/differentiating-with-google-classroom/

Jan 09

Diigo Links (weekly)

Check out these fabulous resources:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2017/01/09/diigo-links-weekly-48/

Jan 01

Diigo Links (weekly)

Happy New Year! Here are some new year’s resources to sift through:

I’ve mentioned before that we rely heavily on game-based learning in our homeschool.

Earlier this year, my daughter was struggling with coin identification and value. We had been using a mix of Khan Academy and Singapore for math, both of which she enjoyed… until it came to coins.

The coins left her in tears.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2017/01/01/diigo-links-weekly-47/

Dec 27

Diigo Links (weekly)

Great EdTech Resources from this wonderful holiday season:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/12/27/diigo-links-weekly-46/

Dec 22

Aligning a Kit to the NGSS

This post was originally published at the CORELaborate blog here.

Aligning a Kit (or any Science Activity) to NGSS
I have the STC/MS Kit, Energy, Machines, and Motion (EMM). I use that kit with my 6th grade students for their physical science experience. The first unit of the kit is the Energy unit. The NGSS standard for Energy is MS-PS3 (Middle School, Physical Science number three). There are five performance expectations for the MS-PS3 Energy standard and none of them align to the STC EMM kit that I use. And on top of that, we are only beginning the process of adoption so we probably won’t be getting any new curriculum for a year or two. I could scrap the kit altogether and create all new activities and labs but to be honest, that is way too much work.

3 Dimensions of NGSS
So in keeping with the 3 Dimensional concept of the NGSS performance expectations I can combine one of the MS-PS3 Energy Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) with a Cross-Cutting Concept (CCC) and a Science and Engineering Practice (SEP) to make my own performance expectation! In this way, until we adopt a fully NGSS aligned curriculum, I can make sure I am exposing my students to the 3 Dimensional learning of the NGSS using the NGSS standards!

The STC EMM kit first three labs use batteries to expose students to the concept of Energy. They start by building a battery out of zinc, copper and copper sulfate in lesson 2 to learn what makes up a battery.

Student-Created Battery

Students learn what makes up a battery by making their own battery and showing that energy was generated by lighting a light bulb!

In lesson 3 students try to light a bulb with a dead battery. They then have to recharge the battery to put energy back into it! This is where students are first exposed to the concept of energy transfer.

Energy Transfer Drawing

A student drawing of the energy transfers in a battery and light bulb circuit system.

Energy Transfer Drawing with a Motor

Another student drawing of a similar but different energy transfer.

By lesson 4 students investigate how different battery charging times put more energy into batteries by seeing how long a flashlight stays lit. This lab focuses on collecting and interpreting evidence.

EMM Lesson 4 Data

A typical graph from data collected by charging batteries for different times and seeing how long a flashlight stays on.

Lessons 5 and 6 transition students from Energy to Forces as they investigate elastic force, the force of gravity, and frictional force.

Looking at the Energy Standard, MS-PS3, none of the DCIs match anything students do in the EMM lessons 2, 3, or 4. If you click on the DCIs though, you are taken to A Framework for K-12 Science Education book website where the NGSS got the DCIs. The way the EMM kit lines up the energy labs and along with the way I deliver the lessons, students are learning the following:

Core Idea PS3
What is energy?
“At the macroscopic scale, energy manifests itself in multiple phenomena, such as motion, light, sound, electrical and magnetic fields, and thermal energy.”

How is energy transferred and conserved?
“Interactions of objects can be explained and predicted using the concept of transfer of energy from one object or system of objects to another. The total energy within a defined system changes only by the transfer of energy into or out of the system.”
“5 Dimension 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas – Physical Sciences.” National Research Council. 2012. A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13165.

By learning how energy transfers through different battery systems, students see that energy changes from one form to another. Students also experience different forms of energy, electrical, mechanical, light and heat.

Clicking on the link to Storylines from any of the NGSS standards you get more information on each standard for each strand. Clicking on the Physical Science Storyline and scrolling down to the PS3 standard on Energy shows me that, “the performance expectations in PS3: Energy help students formulate an answer to the question, ‘How can energy be transferred from one object or system to another?’” Also, “begin to develop an understanding of the relationship between force and energy,” which students will be exposed to in EMM lessons 5 and 6.

CCCs and SEPs
By doing the EMM lessons 2, 3, and 4 labs students are learning the CCCs of Systems and System Models as well as Energy and Matter so I have two CCCs to add to two DCI’s above. Students are also using the SEPs of Developing and Using Models of the different battery systems, as well as Analyzing and Interpreting Data when they gather evidence and graph it. Writing their CER Conclusions helps students interpret their data as well as to Engage in Argument from Evidence so we have three SEPs!

Taking the EMM Lesson 3 Lab that students did, I can use the following NGSS Performance Expectation that I made up from all 3 Dimensions that doesn’t exist on the NGSS website:
Students who demonstrate understanding can:
Use a model to show the concept of transfer of energy from one object or system of objects to another and show that energy can take different forms in a closed or open system.
DCI = Orange, CCC = Green, SEP = Blue

So that’s how you can adapt any activity you already do to the NGSS standards by creating your own 3 Dimensional NGSS performance expectation!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/12/22/aligning-a-kit-to-the-ngss/

Dec 21

Diigo Links (weekly)

Check out these awesome links:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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