Being an effective writer is an essential skill all students must show growth in accomplishing while in high school. I really like engineering journals because they give students a place to highlight this growth over time. Soon we’ll do an exercise where they compare an engineering journal prompt (a synthesis question based on an activity or build) from the beginning of the year to now.
There have been many studies and articles about how students retain information long-term, and even with an increasingly digital presence, much of our student work is based on handwritten work.
To think like a scientist, documenting observation and keeping data we’ve had students keep an Engineering Journal, written in pen with dated entries.
Keeping all other work in their science binder – all the handouts and ephemera that come with taking a course.
Natural Science & Engineering has explored and decoded the original NYT article written by Edison about his experiments to create an incandescent light bulb. Now at the end of this unit we are going to revisit our build and write a vocabulary-rich summary of our work.
Students are investigating specific vocabulary words and drafting a paragraph based on their lightbulb investigation. Tomorrow we will refine and share our final drafts with the class.
After building the lightbulb using a carbon filament, we read about his experiments to enhance the ability of platinum to withstand high temperatures needed for incandescence.
It was an article that had difficult and unfamiliar vocabulary, so as a class we broke it down in the following way:
- Identified vocabulary that was unfamiliar, entered the words into a Google form
- Researched “top 30” words as identified by the classes using a Lib Guide created by WHS Library
- Created a custom glossary for the article
- Divided 6 key paragraphs and re-wrote them in small groups using the student created glossary
- Incorporated feedback on rough drafts through shared Google Doc
- Presented the “before” and “after” results
Students did a great job decoding the work and (hopefully) learned the value of working in groups when trying to read a difficult text.
Students are learning the important skill in how to research, it will be fascinating to see what they find on their topic
Doing research is just more than “Googling it”, as we work on our inquiry project about isotopes in society, I’m really excited to be using new (to me) research tools “Noodle Tools” are a way to digitally integrate database research with google drive and my wish, digital note cards!