Science conclusion paragraphs

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by sochiwateach, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. sochiwateach

    sochiwateach Rookie

    Feb 22, 2008
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    Nov 12, 2009

    Do you have your students write a conclusion paragraph for every lab? I did last year, but have been considering having my students write one for every 3 or 4 labs. I am hoping to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of the conclusion paragraphs. I am thinking about structuring 2-3 labs per quarter that are used as a formative assessment and have the students edit (then perhaps re-edit) their labs to produce a thorough analysis of the experiment. So, I am curious what other science teachers are doing.
  3. outsidethelines

    outsidethelines Companion

    Jul 22, 2008
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    Nov 27, 2009

    I have my students write conclusion paragraphs sporadically for assessment purposes. However, we don't do this for every single lab. I try to mix up how we analyze the experiments for variety purposes.
  4. wrice

    wrice Habitué

    Nov 13, 2009
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    Nov 27, 2009

    I find it beneficial to run through all the parts of the scientific method every time. Process is as important as product in science, and skills as important as knowledge. I'm not sure what benefit you get from mixing things up all the time. Scientific method was made to be universal and consistent.

    I have them write a results paragraph in which they find trends in data and note outliers. 5 sentences.

    The concluding paragraph my students write simply tells whether their hypothesis was supported or refuted, if there were significant sources of error, and what, in the future, they might like to change should they repeat this experiment- again, 5 sentences at most.

    What do you have them write about? Sorry, I don't think having them do less work will encourage them to generate more thoughtful and thorough work. Filling out a consistent format and giving good feedback on your expectations early on would give them that encouragement. I think research on the intracellular calcium pathways and the induction of the SNAP-25 protein deserves a 'thorough analysis of the experiment.' I think most experiments middle schoolers do need a few simple sentences and you're done. No thorough analysis, editing, or re-editing.
  5. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

    Aug 18, 2008
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    Nov 28, 2009

    My students write an analysis every time they do a lab (7th graders). We do a lab every week. I use the analysis as a formative assessment to determine how they are doing on applying the conceptual knowledge to the lab. The analysis is based on the requirements my state has for a science inquiry task (students are required to complete at least one every year).
    Students are to include:
    Patterns, trends, statistical analysis of the data and provide supporting data of their statements.
    Result of the experiment and a scientific explanation of why that is the result.
    If claim was correct or not and how they know.
    Possible errors and how that might effect the data
    Follow-up questions for further experimentation related to the experiment and why that would help deepen their understanding of the science.
  6. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

    Jul 6, 2006
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    Dec 6, 2009

    I do different things for different labs. Something I found in the book Science Formative Assessment by Page Keeley (available from NSTA and WELL worth the cost!) is a strategy called RERUN.

    Recall - summarize what you did in the lab
    Explain - explain the purpose of the lab
    Results - describe the results in the lab and what they mean
    Uncertainties - describe what you are still unsure about
    New - write at least two new things that you learned from this lab

    This is a fabulous way to process an investigation without writing a full-blown conclusion. Although the written conclusion is needed and valuable for students.
  7. looneyteachr

    looneyteachr Companion

    Nov 29, 2009
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    Dec 20, 2009

    i don't teach science but the more kids can write in any subject the better

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