I-EP middle school science lesson, which consists of four subjects - Life Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, follows the IB-MYP conceptual inquiry teaching method. Rather than only memorizing the facts, applying "conceptual understanding" helps students to improve their knowing and understanding of knowledge. It adds depth to students' learning by connecting to real-world examples and helps them break down space and time boundaries to build up a broader perspective using interdisciplinary knowledge and skills.
In the first unit of I-EP G8 Science, using "Relationships" as key concept, "Model", "Form", "Function" as related concept, and "Identities & Relationships" as global context, 8th graders took an adventure from micro to macro, they explored atomic structure, how atoms form different matter, and difference and classification among types of matter.
During the learning process, they created a timeline of atomic theory historic events, designed and built a variety of creative atomic models, displayed examples of different substances made up of different elements, and held a successful science museum in campus last week which drew a lot of attention and praise.
Now , Let's take a journey into the I-EP Science classroom and see how the 8th graders have fun and gain knowledge in Science!
While exploring the composition of an atom, students use objects in classroom to recreated Rutherford's gold foil experiment which discovered protons, experiencing how scientists came to explore the structure of an atom through experiment in the time period when people could not directly observe the internal structure of the atom even with the help of apparatus. Through the simulation lab, students developed deeper understanding of atomic structure and recognize scientists' contribution to the development of atomic theory, which fosters their scientific literacy and interest in science.
Based on explored knowledge, students used small particles to build up the draft model of an atom. Meanwhile, students applied knowledge of measuring scale to calculate and compare the size of an atom and the nucleus on map, transforming the abstract concept into visual understanding. The transformation of thinking perspectives helps strengthening their deeper understanding and exercising their figurative thinking skills.
After exploring the smallest unit of matter, we tied our knowledge back to daily life, and explored how atoms are arranged and combined different types of matter, contributing to our colorful world. By conducting labs of how elements form different types of matter, how types of matter differ in properties, students explore the classification of matter. Furthermore, students apply knowledge to categorize some other common substances in real life example, tying theoretical knowledge with real life situation.
Listing examples of 4 types of matter: element, compound, homogeneous mixture, and heterogeneous mixture, students used small particles to represent how elements form 4 types of matter, compared and contrasted the similarities and differences.
Finally, students accumulated their knowledge and demonstrate their knowing and understanding of concepts in a visual way. In the summative assessment, each student chose an element from the Periodic Table and designed and built up a creative model to show structure of an atom, also, students list real life examples of 4 types of matter that contain chosen element and used a matter/particle model to assist explanation.
While designing and building the models, 8th graders applied their knowledge and skills to give full play to their ability of creative thinking. When accomplished, we set up I-EP Science Museum in hallway and displayed our 20 unique piece of works, having a science communication with other teachers and students.
Students as the main explorer in I-EP science class, they’re not just learning subject terms, we focus on developing students’ abilities to correctly and confidently acquire, apply, and communicate scientific knowledge in a variety of ways (oral, written, and visual, etc.). In this summative assessment, students were successfully applying their skills and knowledge in real-life situations, reflecting on the impact of science, and finally presenting their creative work with audiences. It’s a successful collision of science and creativity. We look forward to seeing more learning adventures in science classroom afterwards!