Student Designed Investigations Part 4 - Poster Presentations/Science Fair

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Lesson Overview

Grade level(s):

Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5

Subjects(s):

Biology/Life Science

Topic:

Presenting findings of an investigation to a wider audience

Big ideas(s):

Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.

Vocabulary words:

See vocabulary words taught in previous lessons of this unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?"

attractive, audience, illustration

What you need:

Making Posters: For every pair of students: a poster board, glue, scissors, construction paper of different colors, white lined paper, drawing paper, pictures taken of students as they performed their investigation, "Science Presentation Board" evaluation sheet. Each pair should also have their filled out investigation plan, original data collected, and any pictures, charts or graphs that they drew to illustrate the data.

Science Fair rehearsal: Student posters, living things investigated, any materials needed to be displayed with poster(i.e. experimental set up, tools used) and tables to display them on.

Science Fair: Student posters, living things investigated, any materials needed to be displayed with poster(i.e. experimental set up, tools used) and tables to display posters on. Display of aliens and their habitat drawings if you did extension activity.

Grouping:

pairs

Setting:

Making Posters: classroom or a large space like the auditorium or long hall

Science Fair rehearsal: classroom or a large space like the auditorium

Science Fair: classroom or a large space like the auditorium

Time needed:

Making Posters: one 2 hour period or 2 one hour periods

Science Fair rehearsal: 1 hour

Science Fair: 1 evening for 2 hours, or half day with two classrooms coming in every 15 to 20 minutes.

Author Name(s): 
Linda Akiyama
Summary: 

This lesson is from the unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" The unit is designed to be taught prior to teaching the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation for a grade level science fair.

In this particular lesson, students create Poster presentations explaining their investigations. They use the posters to help them present their investigations to an audience of adults and children at a science fair.

Prerequisites for students: 

A prerequisite to teaching this lesson is to teach the previous lessons in this unit.

UNIT: What is Life and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?

Lessons:

1) What Do Living Things Have in Common?

2) Living or Non-living?

3) Introducing Cells

4) Introducing the Process of Investigation Science

5) Student Designed Investigations Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4- A Living Thing Responds to Its Environment

Part 1 - Observation

Part 2 - Testable Questions, Predictions, Materials, and Procedures

Part 3 - Collection Data and Drawing Conclusions

Part 4 - Poster Presentations/Science Fair

Learning goals/objectives for students: 

Students will be able to create a poster presentation that effectively explains their scientific investigations to an audience of students and adults.

Students will practice explaining their investigations and using evidence to back up their inferences drawn from the data collected during their investigation. Whenever possible, they will be able to answer questions posed by others by refering to evidence gathered during their investigation.

Students will display critical thinking when asking questions about the investigations by fellow students

 

Getting ready: 

Making Posters: If possible, do this activity in two groups because it requires a lot of room. I usually have a few pairs working outside the classroom door in the hallway. A parent volunteer is also helpful. The auditorium is another possibility. Gather materials and plan for storage of the poster boards so that they don't touch each other until the glue on them dries.

Science Fair: Procure a space and time for the fair. I plan the fair for mid-May, after Standardized Testing. We invite two classrooms to come to the fair for 15-20 minute intervals and run the fair until lunch. We also send invitations to parents and school personnel.

Lesson Implementation / Outline

Introduction: 

Making the Posters: Explain to students that they will get an opportunity to share all their hard work as scientists with the rest of the school and their parents during a special science fair at the school. Let them know that one way that scientists and science students share their work is through poster presentations.

If you have a poster from a previous science fair, share it with the class. Explain how science posters are used to share the scientist's testable question, investigation, data, and conclusions with other people. Tell them that you are going to share some tips about how to make a great presentation using a poster board.

 

Activity: 

Making the Posters:

1.Hand out a "Science Presentation Poster " sheet (attachment) to each student. Go over the criteria that will be used to assess their poster presentation: Neatly printed, Easy to read, Attractive, Scientists' Names, Title (reflects the big idea of the investigation), Testable Question, Procedure, Illustration, Table, or Graph of Data, Summary of Data, Conclusion based on evidence from the data, Ideas for improving the investigation. If you are using this sheet for evaluation of the presentation, explain the point system.

2. Hand out posters and have students write their name on the back. Hand out each pair's investigation plan. Show students the materials they can use to decorate their poster and which paper to use to recopy each section of their investigation plan in large, neatly printed letters.

3. Have students arrange all the material on their boards and then check with an adult before glueing anything. Emphasize arranging the different parts of the investigation in order so that the process of doing the investigation is clear to the reader.

4.Students who finish early, can work on ways of making their poster more attractive so that more people will want to read it.

Checking for student understanding: 

Rehearsing for Science Fair

A day or two before the science fair, set the posters up in the classroom. Have one of each pair stay by the poster and have the other person role play being different students or adults who are coming to the science fair (ex: 1st grader, 5th grader, parent, principal). Have the role players go to each poster and ask questions that they think the person that they are role playing would ask to the student at the poster. After 15- 20 minutes, partners exchange who is staying at the poster and who is role playing.

Wrap-up / Closure: 

Host a poster presentation science fair!

Extensions and Reflections

Extensions and connections: 

See "Draw an Alien in its Natural Environment" lesson.

Reflections: 

My students love participating in the science fair. They have expressed great satisfaction in feeling like the expert or teacher when explaining the investigation that they devised and the data that they collected. One student said the best part of the fair was having the younger students admire him. Another said that "We learned something about slugs from our investigation that not even the fifth graders knew."

NOTE: I recycled the poster boards every year by tracing the outside of the poster on fadeless bulletin board paper and then stapling around the edges of the poster. Then students glue their own work onto the fadeless paper. It took more time but didn't waste poster board and was less expensive than buying boards every year.

AttachmentSize
Science Presentation Board.doc40.5 KB

Standards - Grade 3

Life Sciences: 
3. Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organism's chance for survival. As a basis for understanding this concept:
d. Students know when the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; others die or move to new locations.
Investigation and Experimentation: 
5. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
b. Differentiate evidence from opinion and know that scientists do not rely on claims or conclusions unless they are backed by observations that can be confirmed.
c. Use numerical data in describing and comparing objects, events, and measurements.
d. Predict the outcome of a simple investigation and compare the result with the prediction.
e. Collect data in an investigation and analyze those data to develop a logical conclusion.

Standards - Grade 5

Investigation and Experimentation: 
6. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
b. Develop a testable question.
c. Plan and conduct a simple investigation based on a student-developed question and write instructions others can follow to carry out the procedure.
e. Identify a single independent variable in a scientific investigation and explain how this variable can be used to collect information to answer a question about the results of the experiment.
f. Select appropriate tools (e.g., thermometers, meter sticks, balances, and graduated cylinders) and make quantitative observations.
g. Record data by using appropriate graphic representations (including charts, graphs, and labeled diagrams) and make inferences based on those data.
h. Draw conclusions from scientific evidence and indicate whether further information is needed to support a specific conclusion.
i. Write a report of an investigation that includes conducting tests, collecting data or examining evidence, and drawing conclusions.