Another adds, “Just like the scale is more when we take the thing out of the water.”

Building an analogy from a situation students understand to one they do not can build understanding of the new situation.

Consensus Discussion and Summary of Learning

There are expectations for what students should have learned from the curricular activities performed thus far. Up to this point, I have been attempting to identify students’ understandings about the pushes of the surrounding fluid (water or air). In the class, I now guide a discussion aimed at achieving consensus on what we can conclude about water and air from our observations. On the topical content side, learners should know the following:

  • Water and air have some similar properties.

    • Fluids (at least water and air) can push in all directions, up, down, sideways.

    • The deeper one goes in the fluid, the greater is the push in any direction.

  • Water and air have some different properties.

    • Since water is denser than air, the effects of the pushes by water are greater.

    • Water can stick to itself (cohesion).

    • Water can stick to other materials and things (adhesion).

    • Air is more squishable (compressable) than water.

The learners should have evidence (results) from the class experiences that they can use to support each of these conclusions.

Students need opportunities to reflect on and summarize what they have learned.

Learners also have had an opportunity to practice some habits of mind that are consistent with learning and reasoning in science:

  • Inferences come from observations (evidence-based reasoning).

  • Controlled experiments can be used to test most of our ideas.

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