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Megan Hinton

ELED 3221

Things to Consider When Writing a Reflection

When the science experience you have planned for your students is over, you may want to
document what went on. If you use a constructivist approach, there is always a lot to write about
because you really do not know beforehand where the lesson will go or what the students will
say or do. It is the students thinking that propels you forward. Besides actively listening to the
students during the lesson, it is useful to take some time afterward to record their ideas and your
own reactions to the way the lesson developed.
Here are some sample questions to ask yourself as you reflect on the lesson and write about it in
your science journal:

What did the students find out in the experience? Were there any surprises?
During the Oil Spills lessons the students discovered how different ecosystems and
environments affect each other. One of the examples given to the students, if I were to
pour oil in the grass, it would eventually die. The animals that eat the grass would no
longer have any food so without food they would die and wouldnt produce food for us,
the humans. There werent really any surprises, because everything was put much laid
out for the students, they were able to come up with their own observations and ideas of
ways that we as humans can prevent them. The ideas the students had were very elaborate

and detailed. Its amazing how quickly and simple their minds work.
How did the students in each group work together? Were there any problems?
We separated the classes by tables so they, the students, werent able to pick their groups.
Which I believed would cut down on any issues between groups. The most common
issues were use of materials. Each person of the group was supposed to be able to have a
hands on experience with one of the materials. More than a couple students hogged the

materials preventing another student from experiencing the oil spill.

Was the activity open-ended enough, or did each group do more or less the same thing?
Most groups used certain materials the same way, but when it came to the rope, Popsicle
stick, and sponge, the students used them it many different ways that I myself and teacher

assistants would have thought of.

How did the students extend the investigation?
The activity was extended having the students write letters to our state senators and a
visual drawn in order to state ideas to prevent oil spills, possibly find new ways to
transport it. Seeing how inquisitive the students were, it was clear they care how other

environments were affected because they learned it will affect theirs.

How did the students connect this experience to their daily lives?

Megan Hinton
ELED 3221
The Exxon oil spill, many of the students have heard of it. A lot of students recognized
Dawn dish detergent for being used to clean off the animals affected by oil spills. They

connected oil to its use for transportation. Weve all been to gas stations they said.
How did I accommodate students with learning and physical differences?
During the Q&A there were a couple students who still didnt understand what was going
on, so my teacher assistants and I walked around and sat with them while answering their
questions, explaining things on a level that they would understand. At some points I even

reread parts of the book when certain materials didnt have a clear use.
Did I use technology effectively?
Technology wasnt used at all during my lesson, so to answer honestly no it was not used

Overall, what do I think the students got out of the experience?
Overall the students learned the importance of keeping every habitat, whether it belongs
to us or not, because at some point they all trickle into one another. Also, students learned
and questioned why oil is our main source for travel, they wondered if we as adults could

use other things to power our houses and vehicles.

What do I remember most about this science activity?
The inventions my students created in order to transport oil in other ways. It was cute and

so simple, but it makes you wonder if we really could engineer these ideas.
Would I do it again? How would I plan differently the next time?
I would definitely do this oil spill lesson again, but there are a few things that I would do
differently. I would have the students answering the assessment while actually
conducting the experiment, I noticed that a lot of the students had trouble remembering
how they used specific materials. I also would better examples of the possible uses
materials that they are being given. While in discussion I need to find a way to keep the
class from getting off track, because there were a couple times that baseball was brought
up and that has nothing to do with oil spills.

What did you learn about yourself as a learner and as a teacher during this lesson?
As a learner I noticed that I am excited to hear and feed off the ideas of others. I at times
have a hard time believing in my responses and answers. I get nervous and scared when I
am unsure of my responses. On the teacher side of that I had to encourage those students
who I notice dont volunteer their responses. If I can do that for them, then why am I not
able to do it for myself and have confidence in my answers? Also, as a teacher I realized

Megan Hinton
ELED 3221
that it is okay if I do not always have the answers to every question that the students
Sometimes it is useful to record comments and reflections directly on the lesson plan itself.
Keeping your plans together in a notebook or a computer file is a good idea too. Your comments
and notes have important implications for how you will address the topic the next time.
The above information comes from the following source:
Koch, J. (2010). Science stories: Science methods for elementary and middle school teachers.
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. (pages 314-315).