Sixth Grade Science…for a New Generation!

alig3Indiana’s sixth grade science standards state that students will “understand that there are different forms of energy with unique characteristics.” In generations past, a lesson on this topic might have included reading a textbook section and filling in a worksheet, not a method conducive to deep learning. Today’s HSE21 Short, from Stephanie Alig’s classroom at Riverside Intermediate, provides a compelling example of 21st century learning, where student inquiry and collaboration, powered-up by 21st century digital learning tools, foster enduring understandings of important scientific concepts.

alig1“I placed students in groups of two or three, so that they might collaborate and learn from each other. Each group investigated a form of energy (sound, light, heat, electrical, chemical, or elastic), by researching in their textbooks and online with their iPads. Each group’s responsibility was to create a one-minute presentation representing their form of energy. Groups used a variety of digital presentation tools to share their findings: iMovie, Haiku Deck, and Adobe Voice were three popular tools.”

alig2“Next, groups created Auras (using Aurasma) or QR codes as vehicles for presentation sharing. I placed the Auras and QR codes at ‘energy stations’ where the students a) watched the presentations; b) completed a mini-lab (made a circuit, energy sticks, measured heat, vinegar/baking soda, poppers, and diffraction grating glasses); and, c) submitted responses through Blackboard to demonstrate their understanding.”

If you are over thirty, does that sound like YOUR sixth grade science instruction?