ERIC Number: EJ1126841
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jan
What's Lurking in Our Lake?
Peters, Mackenzie; Scott, Catherine
Science and Children, v54 n5 p66-72 Jan 2017
Computers, laptops, interactive whiteboards, and iPads make regular appearances in our daily lessons, but are they being used to their fullest potential? In an effort to use technology with students in a meaningful way, the authors incorporated a free app and online graphing resource into a second-grade lesson on the characteristics of a lake environment. The focus of the lesson was twofold: First, the authors wanted students to understand that many variables determine the characteristics of a lake; second, they wanted them to realize that the lake provides a home for many different organisms that they do not find on land. For the lesson, the authors used the Do it Yourself (DIY) Lake Science app, a free app created by The Lawrence Hall of Science. This kid-friendly app is designed for both iPads and iPhones and has three parts. In the first portion of the app, "Under the Lake," students manipulate different variables of the lake, such as the depth, the temperature of the water, and the temperature of the air around the lake. Students are able to see the impacts these variables have on each other and the environment as a whole. Students can then read about the scenarios they created in two ways. While students are manipulating the variables of the lake, descriptions pop up to explain what processes are taking place. If students want to investigate scenarios that they did not see, they can go to the "Learn" tab and read about the scenarios that way. Students can then go back and explore to see these scenarios play out. It should be noted that the text under the "Learn" tab is sophisticated, and students would require support from more advanced readers or from the teacher if they are in early elementary grades. For our lesson, we chose to have students focus on the "Explore" tab, where they would see physical representations of the lake that they could manipulate; however, older grades may choose to explore the more sophisticated vocabulary and concepts in greater depth. The second part of the DIY Lake Science app is the activities section. In this section, the app user is able to see 12 different activities that pertain to lake science, such as testing the clarity of water, measuring how many organisms are in a given area, making a lake and testing runoff, and testing the effects of pollution on aquatic bugs. Six of these activities are indoor activities and six are outdoor activities. Finally, the third section of the app is full of videos from various sources that cover specific topics of lake science, the interaction between lakes and people, and information regarding lakes around the world. The authors considered whether or not this lesson could be completed without the aid of technology, and they do think teachers could have success with less technology available. For example, in the event that the teacher has only one iPad or only computer access, the materials could be brought up on a large screen so that the class as a group can create a model of the lake, rather than in small groups like they did. Students could easily make graphs using grid paper to record their findings in the event that they did not have access to the graphing website. The authors present their lesson in this article, including assessment and challenges.
Descriptors: Technology Uses in Education, Grade 2, Computer Software, Elementary School Students, Science Instruction, Earth Science, Telecommunications, Handheld Devices, Climate, Teaching Methods, Vignettes, Vocabulary Development, Scientific Concepts, Lesson Plans, Access to Computers, Video Technology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: Grade 2; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A