To help develop more scientifically curious and literate students, we use scientific literature or documentaries to engage students in developing the NGSS science practices. Students find an interesting topic, generate a question, collect and analyze data and then develop a Science Installation that communicates their learning to the greater community. Our most recent class project had students study how to grow food in a simulated Mars environment with the conditions controlled by student programmed raspberry pis. High school students organized 6th graders to do hands on data collection. They created a 10x12 foot exhibit that looked like a Martian landscape and highlighted the equipment they used with the plants still growing. The display included QR codes to communicate data and research using student-created videos, infographics, and data tables. Other installations include a monochromatic yellow room where everything looks grey and allowed observers to learn about the properties of light and the ways light energy is used in photosynthesis, the way it can be used to promote electrons, and the way it produces color. Other exhibits include sound waves and a history or music and musical instruments, the chemistry of color, and an environmental study of our use of carbon.
Participants will learn how to guide students in the reading of scientific literature or the watching of documentaries in order to generate an authentic question and project. (How can we develop the capacity to farm on Mars? How does yellow monochromatic light produce the absence of color (an episode of Abstract, What can we learn about pollen structure from 3D printed files from Bayer’s agricultural division?)
Participants will review a process to take the question and generate an authentic study that transcends a single class, grade, or discipline. (Students in 11th grade worked with students in 6th grade to test growing plants under controlled conditions that simulated Mars. Students in art and physics classes explored the properties of light and created a light-based art exhibit with science lessons on QR codes)
Participants will explore a template for guiding students through the creation of an installation/exhibit that creatively shows the question, their experiment, their analysis, and potential solutions or conclusions in a creative and community-informing way. The exhibit is similar to an art installation with QR codes and experiment/study artifacts presented in a museum like scenario.
Elizabeth Helfant (Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School: Saint Louis, MO)