Sample Responses

The teacher provided a template of a data table, but then asked students to create their own data table for the challenge experiment. Why do you think the teacher chose this method for student reporting?

This method is an important part of inquiry-based instruction. Asking students to create data tables and record data in a way that is meaningful for the students promotes, thinking encourages speaking and listening, and helps students with reading data tables.

After the students read and did the experiments for different types of reactions, the teacher asked students to produce a definition of chemical and physical change. What strategies did she use for peer editing (WHST6-8.4 and WHST6-8.5)? How did peer editing help students write their summary "sticky note?"

The teacher used a "pyramid" collaboration to build a common definition for the class. First, groups wrote their definition on a white board. Then they partnered with another group and selected the best definition from the 2 groups. This definition was brought to the front of the room, as were the best definitions from other groups. The class then had an opportunity to review the "best" definitions and vote on the single best definition. They then wrote this definition in their notebooks. Later, the students used their sticky note to write a summary statement. Many students included the "best" definition as part of their summary statement.

There were several metacognitive writing prompts. Where did you observe them? How would the students' writing to these prompts help develop their informative writing skills?

The teachers provided prior knowledge prompts, and other prompts along the way where students could reflect on what they were learning. Through these writing activities, students were adding to their understanding of chemical and physical change.

How might the sequence for writing—from student prior knowledge, notes from their iPad or text reading, experimental data, and peer editing of definitions—contribute to students' ability to write an informative text (WHST6-8.2) about chemical and physical changes?

The sequence of learning activities builds on one another. Because students enter the information in their notebook, they have a reference of ideas from experimentation, discussion and reading that they can use when writing a more formal informative text.