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Monday, May 20, 2013

Scientific Method Task Cards



Have you tried task cards with your students?

Task cards are a fantastic way to reinforce lessons, review difficult concepts, or provide extra practice for the struggling student.   The student reads each card, performs the task, and records his/her answer on an answer sheet, on notebook paper, or in their lab notebook.


There are many ways to use the task cards. 
1.     As seen in the photo above, punch a hole in the corner and place them on a ring.  Hang them on a pegboard for use throughout the year.  When reviewing for tests or exams, students can select the set of cards from the pegboard for the topic that needs the most review.
2.     Set up a practice/review session by setting the cards up in a lab practical style.  Place one card at each station and have the students rotate through the stations until all stations have been completed.  My students love this format since it allows them to move about the room.  The task cards in this format are a great way to give a quiz or test.
3.     Use the cards in a game format.  Divide the class into teams.  Place the task cards face down in a basket.  A team selects a card at random and must complete the task for a point.
4.     Students can use a set of task cards in small groups and orally review one another for a unit test.

The task cards seen in the photo above are on the scientific method.  The face of science teaching is changing.  Common Core Science Standards, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards, are asking teachers to emphasis scientific concepts, rather than the memorization of large amounts of factual data.  Instrumental to these new standards is teaching the student how to design and implement an experiment of their own.  The first step in teaching the student-designed experiment is to provide the student with a complete and thorough understanding of the scientific method.

Most of the students entering my biology classes at the beginning of the school year can (in a very bored and monotone voice) recite the steps to the scientific method.  What we as teachers need to insure is that the student can actually APPLY the scientific method.  
  • Can the student read a passage and determine the independent and the dependent variables in the experiment?
  • Can the student identify the control and explain WHY it is the control?
  • Can the student look at a set of data and draw a logical conclusion?
  • Can the student design and implement an experiment?
I have a free PowerPoint and set of notes that you can use as a starting point in your teaching of the scientific method.  This free product can be viewed and downloaded here.   Once your instruction is complete, you might want to give these task cards a try.  I most often use the cards in a lab practical format.  Students rotate through the various stations and complete the task at each.   An example of one of the task cards is seen below.

 




The set includes 30 task cards.  Some of the "tasks" include:  
  • Writing a hypothesis.
  • Distinguishing between the experimental and control groups
  • Identifying the independent and dependent variables.
  • Drawing a conclusion based on given data.
Be sure to follow up your lessons on the scientific method by having your students design and implement an experiment of their own.  You can check out my blog post on student designed experiments by clicking here.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for joining the Neighborhood Blog Party! I'm making my way to visit all the blogs there. Even though I don't teach Science, I found some helpful information in your posts about task cards and ideas for using them in class.

    Kristen :)
    Aspire to Inspire

    ReplyDelete