Series: Building Towards NGSS Classrooms

Working as a Team
Lesson Objective: Facilitate collaboration during science investigations
Grades K-5 / Science / Collaboration

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Cope facilitate collaboration between students?
  2. What other strategies might you use to help students work together productively?
  3. How does working in groups on an investigation helps students build their understanding of scientific concepts and skills?
26 Comments
UABTEACH: In elementary and middle school we were taught similar in this video. In high school, knowing how to work as a group in labs was already expected. I like this style of teaching for younger kids because it gives them a chance to understand the lab. It also keeps structure in the classroom.
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UABTeach: In elementary, middle, and high school we were put into groups often but, I do not believe much thought was put into the making of the groups. I really appreciate how much thought this teacher put into making groups. She made sure everyone had a task and was capable of doing that task. I think that is very important because if the task weren't giving to the students beforehand there would be at least one student that doesn't contribute to the project.
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UABTeach: In elementary, middle, and high school we were put into groups often but, I do not believe much thought was put into the making of the groups. I really appreciate how much thought this teacher put into making groups. She made sure everyone had a task and was capable of doing that task. I think that is very important because if the task weren't giving to the students beforehand there would be at least one student that doesn't contribute to the project.
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UABTEACH**
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When I was in elementary, and secondary education, there were not a lot of opportunities to be able to do labs; however when we did have labs we were always suspected to work in groups, they just weren't so detailed oriented classes
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Transcripts

  • Working as a Team Transcript

    Becky Cope: Yep. There we go buddy. What are we trying to control here?

    Speaker 2: The

    Working as a Team Transcript

    Becky Cope: Yep. There we go buddy. What are we trying to control here?

    Speaker 2: The erosion.

    Becky Cope: The erosion, right. We're trying to control the -
    My name is Becky Cope I teach second grade at Burlington Elementary School. We're part of the Boom county school district in Northern Kentucky.
    So I need the material collectors to come up front again.
    As a second grade teacher I have a team of five other teachers that I work with every day so I have to know how to work in a team. And I think as students go through elementary school, middle school and high school they do a lot of teamwork.
    Girls, give me five, four, three -
    With the NGSS it lends itself to students working in a group together understanding the, you know, concepts and the practices. And so as they learn those as second graders third graders and what not, when they're soft-mores and juniors in high school they understand the role of being a positive group member.
    Okay, so we've kind of talked about what erosion is, but today we're going to work a little bit with our hands. So when you came in today, you each got a sticker, okay. Those are your jobs for today for our investigations.
    So when trying to create a good, collaborative role in the classroom I definitely think that at first the teachers have to assign to the students and let a teacher choice, but eventually move toward that of a student choice where they have the understanding of, "hey, you know what, I'm better at being a recorder," or,"I'm better at, you know, maybe being the materials collector."
    And our big question right now for investigation number one is, does wind or water cause more erosion? Okay, so right now I'm going to have the material collector come up to the tables for me -
    One of the first ways that I made sure each child was engaged was that I made sure that each had a job to do within the investigation.
    If you're the recorder, you're going to need the pencil and the piece of paper out of your bag. Here are the steps to our investigation. So the recorder, I want you to read your directions to your group. So what -
    The groups are differentiated kind of based on the learner's ability so I wanted to make sure every group had the student who I knew that could read all the directions, the student that I knew could write down the directions and keep up with the directions that were going on.

    Children: Three. It's three

    Becky Cope: The groups were also formed, obviously based on personality. I knew certain students couldn't work with other students so I did carefully make sure that the students were placed where I knew it would be a good co-operative learning group. I also think that teachers have to be willing to change those groups, the groups can't remain the same every time and all the time. They has to be change within the groups for students to know what different roles are and also to work with other students.
    I've noticed that some groups aren't following the steps. You have to measure yours first, remember? Don't forget the measurement.
    So sometimes it is difficult to get students, especially second graders to work together in a group. I noticed today and in some other groups there were students who were arguing becauase the student wouldn't give them the ruler, even though they weren't the measurer, they felt like they should have the ruler at that time. So it's just something that you have to continually change and adjust to in order to get the students to understand the role of the collaborative team.

    Children: If you [?] the side of them. [scream]

    Becky Cope: I think one of the most important things is to know students personalities and, you know, which students are going to get along with others are going to be dominant, which ones are going to, you know, kind fo sit back and listen. As the school year goes on the students will be doing investigations in different areas, even in different content areas and so I always like for the students to take on different roles you know. And even though the recorder might not have the best handwriting, they still need that opportunity to be the recorder and understand how important it is to take that data and that information.

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School Details

Burlington Elementary School
5946 North Orient St
Burlington KY 41005
Population: 867

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Becki Cope

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Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

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