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Secondary Science

Task 2: Instruction Commentary

TASK 2: INSTRUCTION COMMENTARY


Respond to the prompts below (no more than 6 single-spaced pages, including prompts) by typing your responses within the
brackets following each prompt. Do not delete or alter the prompts. Commentary pages exceeding the maximum will not be
scored. You may insert no more than 2 additional pages of supporting documentation at the end of this file. These pages
may include graphics, texts, or images that are not clearly visible in the video or a transcript for occasionally inaudible portions.
These pages do not count toward your page total.

1. Which lesson or lessons are shown in the video clips? Identify the lesson(s) by lesson plan
number.
[
The first video clip is a nine and a half minute video segment from Lesson Plan 2.
Lesson 2 is titled Physical Properties of Elements. The second video clip is an nine minute
video segment from Lesson Plan 2 as well. ]
2. Promoting a Positive Learning Environment
Refer to scenes in the video clips where you provided a positive learning environment.
a. How did you demonstrate mutual respect for, rapport with, and responsiveness to
students with varied needs and backgrounds, and challenge students to engage in
learning?
[
While promoting a positive learning environment, you can see one example of myself
demonstrating rapport at mark 1:42 in video clip 1. A student who is defined as Talented And
Gifted (TAG), jokingly holds up a piece of Carbon (charcoal) and asks if it is an Oreo. I respond
that it for sure is not an Oreo at mark 1:45. This shows that students are comfortable having fun
during class activities and with this example, students show more receptivity to activities in this
classroom. I also believe in creating a challenging learning environment for my students. At
mark 3:40 in video clip 1, a student comes up to me with a piece of charcoal and asks, This is
coal, right? I reply to him asking if he has completed all of his tests on the sample and that
upon completion of the tests, he should be able to tell me if he is correct. Here, I try to push his
thought process deeper into critically thinking toward using science concepts, such as the
physical properties of the periodic groups, to determine if his unknown substance is, in fact,
Carbon. To push him into thinking deeper, asking him if he has completed all physical property
tests will allow him to gain more insight into this specific sample. By gaining more and more
information about a samples physical properties, the students can think of any previous
knowledge they may have of these substances that they may encounter on a daily basis.
Another example of challenging my students in their learning is the set-up of the
laboratory. I write out on the board the purpose of the lab, part of the hypothesis, and materials.
From video clip 2, starting at 8:48 until the end, I remind students that they need to finish the
incomplete hypothesis, as well as construct some form of a data table to record their results that
they will be testing for. They must show me both of these parts of their final lab write-up before
they can receive their materials to start the lab. Setting up a guided inquiry lab in this way allows
students to work their way toward certain results, but it does give them some room to add their
own creativity into the activity. During this lesson, students work towards testing five different
physical properties of five different unknown samples, but there were many different styles of
data tables constructed. There were also many version of hypotheses developed by students.
At mark 8:45 from video clip 2, I show my responsiveness to students who require an
extra push. One student on a modified diploma and who also has an IEP, needs additional
support. The student sitting next to him has a hard time staying on task. I purposely put these
two students together in a seating chart so that I can keep them close to the front so I can reach
them both at the same time and push them to stay on track. ]

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Secondary Science
Task 2: Instruction Commentary

b. If relevant, describe what you did to ensure safety during the inquiry seen in the video
clips.
[
Throughout all of video clip 1, I am constantly aware of how students are conducting
their tests of unknown substances. This laboratory did not need any demonstrations done by the
teacher prior to students beginning the laboratory. However, there was one instance where I
would model a test to ensure it would be done safely. This was an odor test which in a science
laboratory, is usually conducted using wafting. A couple of the samples were very small chunks
of sulfur which may not be able to be checked for odor by wafting. At the 7:35 mark of video clip
1, I walk over and smell a small piece of Sulfur, then ask and watch a student to do the same.
Being a small sample, wafting may not have done much, especially since the samples had been
sitting out for a few days, so I tried to lead by example of not shoving the piece of Sulfur directly
up to my nose to smell it.
Although this inquiry did not need any open flames or liquids, safety is always the
number one concern in my science classroom. Safety is taught on a daily basis, whether it be
laboratory safety or the safety of students. I believe that showing respect for students, models
safety to the students. Modeling respect also creates a comfortable and fun learning
environment for all students. I also work to show positive reinforcement to students when they
ask any questions during class. Rather than simply replying that they are wrong in an answer, I
ask more engaging questions that can help lead them to the right answer. In this classroom,
students appear to be more engaged when they feel comfortable and safe. ]
3. Engaging Students in Learning
Refer to examples from the video clips in your responses to the prompts.
a. What was the process by which students selected or collected evidence and/or data to
support evidence-based explanations of or predictions about the real-world phenomenon
being investigated?
[
The process that students used to collect evidence is physical property testing of
unknown substances. To do so, I require that students complete a formal laboratory write-up
that they turn in at a later time. Starting at mark 0:45 in video clip 2, I begin reviewing what the
major parts of the lab write-up should consist of. This is a guided inquiry laboratory, so I start off
writing the purpose, partial hypothesis and materials list. Before each student was able to begin
the lab, they must have a well-constructed data table which they came up to show me for the
first 0:30 of video clip 1. There are a couple of students who did not show me their own data
table, so at mark 1:17 of video 1, I ask one of the students if I can see her data table. Another
student comes to show me the beginnings of her laboratory write-up at mark 1:26.
The purpose of Lesson 2 is for students to construct an argument of what they believe
each of their unknown substances is and use prior knowledge to help them determine which
periodic family each belongs to as well. After conducting all five tests on an unknown sample,
the results should give students enough evidence to explain why they chose the correct periodic
family. They use prior knowledge from lesson 1 the day prior, which is where they learned just
what those physical properties are. Some students pursue deeper understanding of the tests
they are conducting. At mark 3:40 of video clip 1, one student is determined to find the exact
name one of the unknown substances and asks if his sample of charcoal is coal. I support his
claims by informing him to complete his tests and he should be able to support his claim with
further evidence. By conducting all five tests on the sample, the student should have the correct
evidence to fully determine which exact family the sample belongs to. ]
b. Explain how you engaged students during a scientific inquiry in

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Secondary Science
Task 2: Instruction Commentary

using evidence and/or data and science concepts to construct an evidence-based


explanation of or prediction about a real-world phenomenon and

supporting or refuting alternative explanations or predictions.


[
As mentioned above, the purpose of Lesson 2, Physical Properties of Elements, is for
students to construct their own version of an argument of why they believe each of their
unknown samples is a certain element. Certain metals, nonmetals and metalloids have specific
physical properties and these students intent is to use prior evidence to support their hypothesis
and results. At mark 5:08 of video clip 1, the student who is determined to find the exact element
names asks if his sample is charcoal. I support and build on the knowledge he already has
about the physical properties of his sample and ask him to think about what he knows, or has
heard of charcoal. At first, he tries to argue that he does not know anything about charcoal, but
he agrees to return to his work area and try to build on any previous knowledge he may already
know by digging deeper into his thinking process. I try to push him towards thinking of what
charcoal is made up of. This example shows how I do not want to simply give the answer to
students. I try to ask more engaging questions to make students think of information I believe
that may already know. ]
c. Describe how your instruction linked students prior academic learning and personal,
cultural, or community assets with new learning.
[
Lesson 1 was done the day prior to the lesson shown in the video clips. It was a
complete day covering the physical properties of certain periodic table groups as well as the
three major periodic families. The ordering of these lessons allowed students to use their prior
knowledge of physical properties (lesson 1) to determine unknown substances (lesson 2).
At mark 3:44, one student asks if we need a because in our hypothesis statement. The
students know that most hypothesis statements contain if/then/because, so I build on this prior
knowledge by asking them what their because statement would be. The very first unit of the
year covered the scientific method. This prior knowledge comes from two months prior when
that unit was covered. The hypothesis itself also builds on the students prior knowledge. At
mark 3:51, one student responds using academic language from the previous lesson. He
responds because I will be able to tell if it is a conductor, semi-conductor or non-conductor.
The previous lesson covered the physical and chemical properties of periodic groups and
families, including whether each was a conductor, semi-conductor or non-conductor. ]
4. Deepening Student Learning during Instruction
Refer to examples from the video clips in your explanations.
a. Explain how you elicited and built on student responses to promote thinking and
develop understandings of science concepts, scientific practices through inquiry, AND
the phenomenon being investigated.
[
From video clip 1, there was one student who asked me three times about one of his
unknown substances. One specific instance is at mark 5:07 in the clip. The student asks me Is
it charcoal? (Referring to a black unknown sample) I reply with What is charcoal? He seemed
to get a slight frustration since I would not simply give him the correct answer, but I also told him
to think about what charcoal is made of without looking it up. I try to engage him in deeper
thinking of what he may already know about charcoal and its characteristics. After he conducts
all of his physical property tests and thinks more in depth of his own knowledge, he returns at
mark 9:03 and shows me his process of elimination then takes a couple of guesses. Then, he
does give me a correct element name on his second guess, Carbon. ]

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Secondary Science
Task 2: Instruction Commentary

b. Explain how your instruction supported students to use science concepts, consider the
quality of evidence and/or data (e.g., missing data, inconsistent results), and/or apply
scientific practices while they are organizing and analyzing evidence and/or data during
a scientific inquiry.
[
One instance where a student had to consider the quality of evidence is from video clip 1
at mark 5:16. As I walk around the classroom helping students through the process of the lab,
this particular student stopped me and was concerned with the conductivity tester. On the back
of the tester, there were instructions of how to read the results from it. The student was
concerned with the two lights that are supposed to illuminate in a certain way depending on
which family the substance belongs to, which in turn, will have certain conductivity. I expressed
that he could grab a new 9volt battery to replace the one in is tester, but he insisted that he will
use the data and patterns from other tests on the substances to determine the correct family
they belong to. While assisting this student, I also notice that his data table is missing one of his
physical property tests. I ask him if his results would still be the same, and he quickly realizes
that his results may not be consistent if he is missing data from testing. This shows that this
student understands that proper data and well-constructed data tables can help lead to correct
test results. ]
5. Analyzing Teaching
Refer to examples from the video clips in your responses to the prompts.
a. What changes would you make to your instructionfor the whole class and/or for
students who need greater support or challengeto better support student learning of
the central focus (e.g., missed opportunities)?
Consider the variety of learners in your class who may require different
strategies/support (such as students with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners,
struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic
knowledge, and/or gifted students).
[
After watching video clip 2, I noticed where a few changes can be made to better
support some of the students in the class. For example, at mark 8:50, I inform the students that I
need to see their data table before beginning the laboratory, however, in the future I may take a
couple extra minutes to gather my IEP students and give them an outline of a data table (no
words) that would provide scaffolding for the students. This scaffolding would be used in a way
that they would realize the number of tests they need to perform to find all the required physical
properties to determine the correct periodic family of a substance.
Another idea that would support students is adding more challenging aspects to this
laboratory. This would be for students who finish their testing early or who need additional
challenges. If this had happened, I had planned on putting up an element hunt on the board
which would give students extra practice searching for and finding elements on the periodic
table. This practice consisted of using the atomic number and/or atomic mass to find certain
elements on the periodic table. ]
b. Why do you think these changes would improve student learning? Support your
explanation with evidence of student learning AND principles from theory and/or
research.
[
The above mentioned changes would help to improve student learning because the
outline of a data table would allow IEP students to conduct the minimum amount of tests to
determine classification of families for their substances. From Wood et al (1976), scaffolding can
consist of a teacher having students who do not initially understand some material use given
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Secondary Science
Task 2: Instruction Commentary

information to help achieve understanding of the concepts, but then be able to produce the
same explanation of the concept on their own as well. This is also supported by Belland, Burdo
and Gu (2015). Teachers can help students during projects and/or laboratories by providing
one-on-one scaffolding. Scaffolding in the science classroom is defined by Belland, Burdo and
Gu (2015) as giving support to students to allow them to complete assignments and
assessments that may be beyond their reach without such support. By supporting an IEP
student and helping them to begin a data table, they learn how a significant amount of data can
help to solve and/or explain evidence based material. ]

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