Monday, July 18, 2011

Science Help Guides

I've created a number of Science Help Guides for students to assist in establishing common language and expectations around data tables, graphing, writing captions, experimental design, and math calculations. In addition to reinforcing common language, these help guides promote the independent use of resources in my students. And rather than using rubrics for these basic science tasks, my help guides set the standard of excellence (more on this in a future post) for each process: "This is what an excellent graph looks like," "This is what an excellent data table looks like," etc.

For example, here is a basic outline of my Data Table Help Guide:

General rules for excellent data tables:

  • One data table equals one graph
  • Data tables have a descriptive title (who/what/when/where)
  • Data tables have a heading row, and each heading has a descriptive label with appropriate scientific units
  • Data in the table are written as numbers only (scientific units are placed in the headings)
  • The first column in the table is X-axis data, remaining columns are Y-axis data (Y1, Y2, Y3, etc.)

At the beginning of the school year, each student gets a set of these help guides to place in the front of their science binders. I also publish them on my classroom website for easy access.

Many students have commented how useful and helpful these guides are, and quite a few save their copy to take with them to high school (a high honor indeed!).

No comments:

Post a Comment