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McREL Standards Activity

Trading and Testing

Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will be able to understand that scientific processes and investigations are made public and are usually repeated by multiple scientists.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
 Standard 11.Understands the nature of scientific knowledge
   Level II [Grade 3-5]
   Benchmark 3. Knows that scientists make the results of their investigations public; they describe the investigations in ways that enable others to repeat the investigations
Language Arts
 Standard 1.Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
   Level I [Grade K-2]
   Benchmark 2. Drafting and Revising: Uses strategies to draft and revise written work (e.g., rereads; rearranges words, sentences, and paragraphs to improve or clarify meaning; varies sentence type; adds descriptive words and details; deletes extraneous information; incorporates suggestions from peers and teachers; sharpens the focus)
Language Arts
 Standard 1.Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
   Level I [Grade K-2]
   Benchmark 4. Evaluates own and others’ writing (e.g., asks questions and makes comments about writing, helps classmates apply grammatical and mechanical conventions)
Student Product:explanation of a process
Material & Resources:No special resources required for this activity.
Teacher's Note:This would be useful after a unit on historical scientific discoveries.
The Language Arts standards and benchmarks on revising and asking for feedback are related to this activity, but are not meant to be the main focus of the activity.
If you choose to do this activity after a unit on historical scientific discoveries, discuss some of the discoveries with the class. Focus on the process that was followed to reach that discovery. If the students wanted to see if the discovery was correct, what would they have to know about the process used in order to repeat it? On the board, have the students describe and list everything necessary to successfully communicate a procedure or experiment to someone. Emphasize that they should be thinking like scientists and to use appropriate vocabulary. They could draw on experiences from the aforementioned unit (if used), or previous scientific experiments done in class. You may want to provide them some past copies of protocols they’ve used. This list, generated both from their knowledge and directed questions from you, should include the following important aspects of communicating methods and results: List any anticpated problems and what was done to cirumvent them List materials (including amounts) List procedures (detailed and complete) Describe any deviations from the procedures that happened during the experiment Describe all results, even the unexpected ones Graphs, charts, and tables should not distort results Explain to students that they will be writing up short instructions for a process or experiment. This can be a basic experiment they’re familiar with, steps for making something, or anything else that requires a list of instructions and specific details. The instructions should include: a list of any necessary ingredients, the order and manner of using those ingredients, major anticipated problems and ways to circumvent these problem, a description of the final product or idea, and anything else that the student deems necessary to proper completion of their experiment or product. After the students return with their instructions, they will trade them with someone else. This person’s job (which can be done in class) is to decide if they would be able to complete them and achieve the intended result. This student should write down anything that they would have trouble doing or understanding and return both the instructions and the edits to the original student. This original student will then modify their instructions to incorporate the changes and return both the suggested edits and the final instructions to the teacher. Each student should be graded on both their edits and their instructions.