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     Q2  Animals 2x2 - Eliciting Students' Ideas


    Phenomenon: A short video (3:30 minutes) showing ducks in a pond.  What are the ducks doing?  Why do they look different? Are they all the same? 

    Video of Ducks (Time Lapse)  (Also available on YouTube or on Vimeo. )

    This unit begins by having students observe a video of a pair of ducks swimming and diving. The students must consider what the ducks are doing. Students are asked to make careful observations and consider what they know about observations of other birds in their past. Students are asked to make a claim for what the ducks are doing. (Science and Engineering Practice: Engaging in Argument from Evidence- students make claims and use presented data to construct an explanation for the question: What are these ducks doing?)

    Before-during-after drawings are particularly helpful for students to show what they think is happening. It requires students to show much more of their thinking. Many of the most compelling classroom conversations about a phenomenon have been about what happens before it starts, or after it stops. It helps if you ask students to "draw what you would see if you had microscope eyes." It sounds simple, but works well. Consider showing how to make a "call out" or "magnifier" circle. Hints: 

    • Ask students to draw/explain what can be seen and what can’t be seen. 
    • Ask students what things are the ducks doing? Why are they doing it?
    • After students have drawn an initial model, have a conversation with them about how the class should represent certain ideas, so that everyone understands each other’s drawings. 
    • If students are working in groups, as an equity move, have each student within a group use a different color marker or tell students you want to see everyone’s writing somewhere on the model. 
    Specific ideas to look for in these drawings include: 
    • Body parts have different functions. (Beaks, feet, eyes, etc.)
    • Moving around. (Swimming & walking)
    • Getting Food. (Feeding)
    • Similarities & Differences (Male & Female Ducks, different species.)


    These Model Templates have been created as one possible tool to help students expose their thoughts about the phenomenon.

    One page model template

    Two on one page