In preparing for a large scale endeavor, it is helpful to have a timeline. In my class, we spend one day per week collecting data in the OLE. The other days we are learning content in the classroom. This set-up works well because I establish the pattern early in the school year. Students know Wednesday (or whatever day we choose for the year) is OLE day and they come prepared for it.
As we work through the project, we spend a few extra days in the computer lab preparing written documents to communicate our findings. For example, I take the students to the computer lab for two days prior to collecting their first round of data tables and graphs. Depending on the prior experience of the class, we may need to spend extra time learning how to create graphs from data tables. Because this has to be flexible, the timeline I posted below is not specific with numbers of days.
The timeline also notes “Free Write Entries.” Each day that we go to the OLE, we return to the classroom and students write for 5 minutes without stopping. This is silent writing in a specified journal (we create these in the first week of the project). Sometimes I give a prompt for the writing, other times they are expected to free-write about their projects. I read these periodically and comment on them.
|Activity by Date||Purpose||Student Product||Scientific Practice|
|Generating list of ideas for Inquiry Investigations||Free Write Entry||Asking Questions (SP1)|
|Background Information gathering
|Finding, evaluating, and communicating information from reliable resources as they relate to the chosen inquiry investigation||Written Report||Obtaining, evaluating, and communication information (SP8)|
|Writing procedures and building models
|Preparing materials and procedures for use in the OLE||Written Report||Developing and using models (SP2); Planning investigations (SP3)|
|Data Collection Events (October – March)||Gather data weekly from OLE inquiry investigations||Free Write Entries||Carrying out investigations (SP3); Using models (SP2)|
|Data analysis, round 1
|Create digital data tables and graphs; analyze data||Written Report||Analyzing and interpreting data (SP4); Using mathematical and computational thinking (SP5)|
|Data analysis, round 2; Conclusions (March)||Incorporate latter data into digital tables and graphs; analyze data; discuss and draw conclusions||Written Report||Analyzing and interpreting data (SP4); Using mathematical and computational thinking (SP5); constructing arguments (SP6); Engaging in argument from evidence (SP7)|
|Panel Presentations (April)||Present Inquiry Investigations to an adult panel and audience||Presentations||Engaging in argument from evidence (SP7); Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information (SP8)|
|Completion of written report and reflection||Finalize written inquiry investigation report; reflect on experience||Written reports; written reflections||Engaging in argument from evidence (SP7); Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information (SP8)|