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  • Gather & Interpret dataGather & Interpret data
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Floating and sinking Capability: Use evidence NoS achievement aims: Investigating in science Contextual strands: Physical world Level : 1,2,3,4

Floating and Sinking: How Objects Behave in Water. Building Science Concepts, Booklet 37

Understanding Buoyancy: Why Objects Float or Sink. Building Science Concepts, Booklet 38

This resource illustrates how activities from Building Science Concepts can be adapted to provide opportunities for students to strengthen their capability to use evidence to support ideas in the context of science.

Curriculum Aims and AOs

The Nature of Science strand

Aim

Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Investigating in science

Carry out scientific investigations using a variety of approaches: classifying and identifying, pattern seeking, exploring, investigating models, fair testing, making things or developing systems.

L1 & 2:

Extend their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions, and discussing simple models.

L3 & 4:

Build on prior experiences, working together to share and examine their own and others’ knowledge.

NZC LINKS: Physical World

Aim

Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Physical inquiry and physics concepts

Explore and investigate physical phenomena in everyday situations.

L1 & 2:

Explore everyday examples of physical phenomena…

Seek and describe simple patterns in physical phenomena.

L3 & 4:

Explore, describe and represent patterns and trends for everyday examples of physical phenomena….

Learning focus

Students look for evidence to decide whether statements are true or false.

Learning activity

These booklets provide a range of “hands on” activities where students explore floating and sinking.

Adapting the resource

To highlight the importance of supporting ideas with evidence, once the children have experienced some of the activities, give them a list of True or False statements and ask them to provide evidence to support their answer. For example:

Statement

T or F

What’s your evidence?

Heavy objects always sink.    
Big objects always sink.    
All rocks sink.    
All wood floats.    
Air trapped inside things help them float.    

Students could also be challenged to come up with their own statements.

An important idea to develop with students is that we only need to produce one piece of evidence to disprove a theory, e.g., although most rocks sink, pumice floats and so this one piece of evidence means the statement “all rocks sink” is false. Science knowledge is tentative – it can change if new (disconfirming) evidence is found.

What's important here

What sets scientific explanations apart from other ways of explaining the world is their reliance on empirical evidence and their ability to evolve as new evidence comes to light. This means it is important to develop a questioning, sceptical disposition towards all empirical evidence.

Developing an appreciation of what counts as evidence in science supports students to become scientifically literate, i.e., to participate as critical, informed, and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role. (This is the purpose of science in NZC).

What’s important here?

What sets scientific explanations apart from other ways of explaining the world is their reliance on empirical evidence and their ability to evolve as new evidence comes to light. This means it is important to develop a questioning, sceptical disposition towards all empirical evidence.

Developing an appreciation of what counts as evidence in science supports students to become scientifically literate, i.e., to participate as critical, informed, and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role. (This is the purpose of science in NZC).

What are we looking for?

Can students find evidence that supports a statement?

Can they explain how their evidence supports a statement?

Do they realise the importance of evidence that disconfirms a statement?

Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels

For suggestions about adapting tasks in ways that allow students to show progress in using evidence to support ideas see Progressions .

Exploring further

This strategy could be applied to any investigations.

Other resources for this capability

The White-tailed Spider (L1 & 2) Ready to Read series, 2010, Guided Reading level: Gold 

The Air around Us: Exploring the Substance We Live in (L1, 2, 3 & 4) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 30

Chemical Popguns (L1, 2, 3 & 4) Making Better Sense of the Material World

Tomato – Fruit or Vegetable? (L2 & 3) Connected 2, 2000

Solar Energy: Sun Power on Earth (L2, 3 & 4) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 29

A Bird in the Hand (L3 & 4) Connected 3, 2007

The Night Sky: Patterns, Observations, and Traditions (L3 & 4) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 28

Food of wild cats (LW1019) (L5) Assessment Resource Banks

Charged! MacDiarmid’s Electroplastic (L5) Applications, 2003

Takahē: Back from the Brink (L5) Applications, 2007

Conflicting theories for the origin of the Moon (L5) Science Online

Speed and distance: It’s a drag (L5) Digistore on TKI

Key Words

Building Science Concepts, floating and sinking


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