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Science Circles Podcast

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Keywords: Science Podcasts, writing, information skills, data analysis
Subject(s): Technology, Podcasting, Writing, English/Language Arts, Science
Grades 5 through 12
School: Mayfield Intermediate School, Manassas, VA
Planned By: Karen Etherington
Original Author: Karen Etherington, Manassas
Physical Science: Grades 6
National Science Standard A: Students produce oral or written reports that present the results of their inquiries. Such reports or discussions should be a frequent occurrence in science programs. Out of the discussions about different ideas, the opportunity arises for learners to shape their experiences about the practice of science and the rules of scientific thinking and knowing.

Objective: Students will improve their understanding of a wide variety of science concepts by hosting weekly science round table discussions/podcasts. These discussions will focus on classroom topics being studied. The Science Circle Podcasts will be made available on a classroom web page. By discussing topics and considering varying points of view, students will have the opportunity to revise and expand their science knowledge and understanding.

Rationale: (From National Science Standard A) Students need opportunities to present their abilities and understanding and to use the knowledge and language of science to communicate scientific explanations and ideas.

Science Concepts:
All science topics outlined the VA Standards of Learning Framework.

Lesson Activities:
1. Each week a small group of 3 to 4 students will be selected to participate in a round table podcast discussion based on the week’s science classroom topic.
2. One of the selected students will serve as a facilitator who will introduce the participants and the topic and direct the flow of the discussion.
3. If necessary, the teacher will provide the group with a focus or guiding question for the podcast.
4. The facilitator will be responsible for preparing questions related to the science topic in advance.
5. During the week prior to the podcast, participants will prepare opening statements presenting their ideas or points of view on the topic. As an alternative, depending on the topic, students may be required to prepare informational statements on a section of the topic being presented and discussed.
6. Following opening statements, a round table discussion format will be used to allow the students to hold and open discussion.
7. Students will defend or expand on their ideas by using information and data from classroom inquiries and other activities.
8. Each week different groups of students will have an opportunity to create a podcast. All students will listen to each of the created podcasts.

Assessment: Teacher created rubric.

Connection to Curriculum: State of Virginia
SOL 6.1 – 6.9 As outlined in the Sixth Grade Science Framework
Writing/Oral Language:
SOL 6.6 – Students will use a variety of planning strategies to generate and organize ideas.
Student will select vocabulary and information to enhance the central idea.
Student will select vocabulary and tone with awareness of audience and purpose.
In addition to helping students expand and revise their science thinking, podcasts will help them understand that science can be viewed from various perspectives. There is not always agreement in the scientific community. Some science is constantly changing as we learn more and more about the things around us.

Also, due to the diversity of our community, I would like to attempt to create some podcasts in Spanish for our Spanish speaking students and families. Many of our Spanish speaking parents often mention that they cannot discuss school with their children because they do not know what they are studying. I would like to use podcasting to help bridge that gap.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Round table discussions are easily adaptable to any subject area.
All students will listen to weekly podcasts. An open classroom discussion will be held to further expand students' ideas and science understanding.
Materials: Digital Voice Recorders, Headsets, Podcasting