Secondary Science Lesson

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Secondary Science Lesson

Grade Level: 9th Grade
Subject: Earth Science
Sub-Subject: Variables & Communicating in Science
Length/Duration: 50 Minutes
Technologies Used: Masses and Spring Lab Simulator [1] Create A Graph [2]

Summary[edit | edit source]

  • Students will be able to describe in their own words, the relationship between length of a spring and mass attached to spring.
  • Students will create a data table based on their conceptual understanding and observations.
  • Overall students will understand that graphing data is an efficient way to communicate information to other people.

Lesson Sequence[edit | edit source]

Introduction (Demo)

The focus of this demo is to show the relationship between independent and dependent variable. Present to the class a set of weights with various masses. Then have student volunteers hold spring with exactly the same length. This is a good time to review the SI Units for mass, weight and length. Proceed with the demo: Add one 100g mass to the first spring then add 50g mass to second spring. Have students measure the length of the weighted springs.

Class Discussion

Ask students to define independent and dependent variables. Ask students "What did we have control to change in the demo lab" (independent variable- amount of mass); then ask students what changed because of the independent variable (dependent variable- length of he spring); Ask student what was the control for the experiment (initial length of springs).

Lab Simulation

For the lab Simulation, new variables are introduced to the students: friction and softness of spring. Student groups use this lab simulation to record data that will further be used to create a graph. Students use the Create A Graph program to graph collected data; this aspect of the lab is meant to show students how experiment data is communicated between scientists.

Standards[edit | edit source]

CA- California K-12 Academic Content Standards

• Subject : Science

• Grade : Grades Nine Through Twelve

• Area : Investigation and Experimentation

• Sub-Strand 1: 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 four strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:

Standard a: Select and use appropriate tools and technology.
Standard d: Formulate explanations by using logic and evidence.

Related Articles[edit | edit source]

Articles represented in the lesson are as follows:

  • Darley, J. M., & Gross, P. H. (1983). A hypothesis-confirming bias in labeling effects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(1), 20-33.
  • Dewey, J. (1902). The child and the curriculum (pp. 11-20). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Emprical & Technical Articles


Findings from this article state that when student performance is equal but judged with different socioeconomic background information the hypothesis about performance is unequal or biased (Darley, 1983). It is the role of the educator to model unbiased expectations to foster an appropriate learning environment. This task is displayed primarily in the demo sequence of instruction. Students are allowed the same experience to learn from. During discussion the teacher restates every student comment into a conclusion. This places every observation in the same performance level, all students contributed to the conclusion that stems from the same demo. However, it is still not clear how to address which students answer. The teacher could randomly call on students, but students may reply based on their own perception of achievement ability (Darley, 1983). Teachers could choose students but this may be based on their assumptions of student ability. Teachers must consciously and continually work on creating a classroom envirnment in which labeling bias is eliminated.


This article defined socio-economic divisions between users of MySpace and Facebook (Boyd, 2007). "The division around MySpace and Facebook is just another way in which technology is mirroring societal values" (Boyd, 2007). This lesson fills the divide by in technology by providing students with two examples of the lab; demo and simulation. The simulation is free, all students may access this from home to recreate the demo experience with peers and adults. This is how technology promotes a similar learning experience for all socio-economic levels. However, this is under the assumption that all students have access to computers at home. In this case, the division begins again outside the classroom.



“It is as if the child were forever tasting and never eating; always having his palate tickled upon the emotional side, but never getting the organic satisfaction that comes only with digestion of food and transformation of it into working power” (Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum, 1902). The intention of this quote is to summarize the relationship of experience to learning. Students rarely get to experience information; instead, students gain knowledge through someone else's experience. The expectation of students to internalize existing analysis of facts is faulty (Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum, 1902). In this lesson sequence, students experience a concept and analyze the data they produce, verse learning from a previously constructed graph. This is how technology enhances the learning “experience”.

Educational Technology Lesson Plans

Educational technology