Part II. Instruction and Assessment

Lesson Plan – Hydrometer
November 1st, 2011
Jordan Miller & Nikki Weston
As a part of Curious Scientific Investigation (CSI), students will need to be
comfortable with different scientific instruments. In this lesson, we will be teaching
students about the hydrometer. The hydrometer measures the density of water, or the
amount of “stuff” in water. We will be testing different types of water to see the different
Teaching Point:
- Students will know what a hydrometer and that hydrometers measure density.
- Students will be able to read the hydrometer for pure water and other liquids.
- Students will learn new words and definitions about science.
SCIENCE: The Nature of Science and Technology
3.1.2 guided science investigation, collect and analyze data
3.1.5 Work cooperatively, communicate, and respect ideas and make conclusion
3.2.4 Discuss and explain the results of investigations
3.1.1 Know and use more difficult word families when reading unfamiliar words.
3.2.2 Ask questions and support answers by connecting prior knowledge
School: IPS #49
Class: Mrs. Severson
Grade: 4th
Number: 4 groups of 7 children
Time: 20 minutes per group
Samples of:
- Pure H2O
- Sugar H2O
- Salt H2O
- Coffee H2O
- Pink Lemonade
Tub for overflow of liquids
Pitcher to rinse hydrometer
Tools Book
Procedure and Time:
~5 min
Active Learning
What is a hydrometer?
Asking kids what they know about it, what they
see on the tool, and what it might do.
What is density?
Explaining what density is and how you use the
hydrometer to measure it
15minutes Measuring density of pure H2O
- What will the hydrometer do?
- What will the reading be?
- Why?
Put out the other liquids
- All of the liquids will be in white cups
so the students will have to guess
what the liquid is before they
measure it in the hydrometer.
- Pass cups around, asking to think
about different aspects of the liquid
Measure sugar water
- Asking what it might do to the needle
Hydrometer, Tools Booklet
Cups with liquid samples
Hydrometer, sugar water
Measure salt water
- Will there be a difference from the
sugar water to the salt water?
Salt water sample,
Measure coffee water
- What do you think the coffee will do
to the hydrometer?
Coffee water sample,
Measure Pink Lemonade
Pink lemonade sample,
- Would the lemonade be different from hydrometer
the sugar water?
Write in Tools Booklet of what they have learned
and how it will fit into the CSI experiment.
- Pure water measures on the
hydrometer at 1.000
- The hydrometer measures density.
- Density is the amount of “stuff” in a
Tools Booklet
I am very surprised at how well this lesson went! I did not think that the students
would have been so interested and involved with learning about a hydrometer before. Plus
I have never done a science lesson before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I also was a little
worried because I didn’t know how it would work as an entire group, and with the
classroom teacher because we didn’t talk about this in class. I just wanted to make sure that
we would have enough time to do the read aloud, and all four stations for each tool that
was going to be used in the CSI experiment at the Children’s Museum. As a collective group,
we didn’t really work together to find a plan of attack. We communicated a lot through
emails because none of us really could find the time so everyone could meet together.
Sometimes collaborating just has to work that way when we all have very busy schedules.
Jordan and I talked about the lesson we were planning during a lunch at Central
Elementary, so we were able to work together to plan for instruction. I ended up writing
the lesson plan, and we followed it as best we could. I do feel bad though, because I did
take over for a lot of the lesson. Half way through, I realized that was leading more than I
should have been, and not letting take the reins and that isn’t fair in co-teaching. I quickly
changed the directions so we could teach together, rather than me leading. That was a
positive learning experience for me with co-teaching and collaborating.
During the lesson, the students were not interested in the hydrometer until we
started investigating the different liquids we were going to measure. We asked many
questions and the students really responded to the inquiry-based teaching. We worked a
lot with predicting what the outcome might be when we poured the liquid into the
hydrometer and then asking questions about why this happened. I believe all the groups
had a great time working with the hydrometer. I know the group of students that I worked
with that museum could remember the name of the instrument and that it had to deal with
something about measuring liquid. For only a twenty minute lesson that happened a week
ago, I think that that was a great response and some great instruction. From what I saw and
heard in the lesson and at the Museum, we hit all of our teaching points from the lesson,
and they were able to transfer that understanding to the main topic.
For the next time if I ever used this lesson, I would probably provide myself with
more time for the experiment. We only had twenty minutes to teach everything, so it was
hard to fit everything in. The time also influenced how we were going to teach it. Since we
had the time restraint, Jordan and I had to model everything for the students, instead of
doing a more hands-on experiment. I wish I would have been able to work that into the
lesson more. Another thing that I would change is the different liquids we used. I wanted to
use something that would clean up easily, be easy to transport, and that would give a great
example of the hydrometer needle movement. I like the liquids we used, but I think that I
could do a few more, and make better solutions that could make the readings more drastic.
Overall, I am extremely pleased at how well the lesson went, how involved the students
were, and how well Jordan and I worked together.
Part II. Instruction and Assessment
3.5 Communication to foster collaboration
This lesson was purely based on active inquiry with the students. Even though there
was a time restraint on the lesson, we tried to get students to really think about the
scientific process, and start asking those meaningful questions. Science is a lot about
asking questions, predicting the outcome, and working through the topic. With this lesson, I
wanted the students to really think about connecting the concept that the hydrometer
measures density, density is the amount of “stuff” in a liquid, and connect that with the
different types of liquids to ask and answer questions. I relied on the communication
between Jordan and me, the communication between the students and us, and the
communication between the students to really get the ball rolling about inquiring the
experiment. For the experiment to work, Jordan and I needed to be on the same level of
understanding for instructing the lesson. We talked a few times, and sat down during a
lunch to plan the lesson. If we weren’t on the same page, we would work out what we
meant and evaluate if it fit into the lesson or not. We needed that foundation so the
students could rely on us to start scaffolding in knowledge of hydrometers and liquids. The
foundation of communication between Jordan and I fostered the communication between
the students. We would ask them questions about the liquid; like why would the needle
move, or which liquid will have a higher density? By asking those questions, the students
were able to communicate with us their ideas and were supported. I believe the
environment that we established also made the environment more suitable for asking
questions as well.
In the lesson, Jordan and I modeled for the students on the proper techniques in
using the hydrometer, so that they would be comfortable using the hydrometer at the
Indianapolis Children’s Museum. We designed this lesson around modeling from Reggie
Routman’s Optimal Leaning Model from her book, Reading Essentials. Modeling in the
Optimal Learning Model is a part of instruction where the teacher is showing the students
the reading strategy, or in this case, the proper way to use the hydrometer. Because of the
time restraint, we only used the modeling aspect of the Optimal Learning Model. If we were
allotted more time for the lesson, I would have incorporated Guided Practice, where the
students would be able to do the work, and Jordan and I would be there to facilitate them
through instruction and supportive inquiry. That would have been very useful in getting
the student prepared for the CSI experiment at the Children’s Museum.
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