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Kristin Pokorny

November 25, 2015

TEAC 315 - Science
CLC Reflection
The CLC lesson that I taught involved using observations and inferences in order to
investigate and engineer tertiary colors through the mixing of primary colored paints. While
planning for this lesson, I considered implementing many of the ideas that we discussed and
read about throughout the course of the semester. I feel that the implementation of this lesson
plan and the ideas discussed in class went about as expected - it had its successes and
challenges. It is the successes and challenges that allow me the opportunity to grow in my
abilities for teaching and learning as I, demonstrate the capacity for collegiality, reflective
practice, and professional growth in regard to science teaching.
Throughout the course of this semester we collaborated on the importance of lesson
plans having a big idea, or understanding, that students can relate prior and incoming
knowledge to. One of the main problems we face in science teaching is that students are
learning isolated facts and missing central concepts (Olson, 2008). In order to ensure that
students walked away from this lesson with more knowledge than a primary and a secondary
color mixed together makes a tertiary color, I worked under the big idea that there are many
different ways in which students can engineer colors. Implementing a big idea to guide my
instruction had its successes and challenges in itself. Students knew that they were to use their
materials to experiment ways to engineer a specific tertiary color, which allowed for students to
experience success with independent work. It was successful because students had clear
expectations for the purpose of their color mixing. Students knew that they werent just mixing
random colors because a teacher told them it would work, but that they were experimenting,
making observations and inferences, and testing their claims in order to engineer a specific
color. This made students think about the properties of the colors they used and how these
properties might require more or less of a color to engineer a tertiary color. This big idea set up
a classroom atmosphere that allowed students to deepen their understanding through
meaningful connections made while experimenting, observing, and inferring about engineering a
tertiary color.
Reflecting on the implementation of that same big idea, I found that it was challenging to
be successful teaching about the nature of science (NOS) as it relates to the big idea. While
experimenting with color mixing to engineer a specific color, students were asked to make and
discuss observations and inferences with a teacher (Ashley or myself). During this one-on-one
conversation I found that it was challenging to identify NOS to students; that they can use
observations and inferences to begin to make sense of all science phenomena. Students
seemed to gain minimal understanding about NOS when I tried to discuss it with them. Students
did not understand NOS independently in this lesson, but some claimed that they understood
after direct instruction. This may be because they had a lot to think about and were most
focused on creating a color and not the process. With that said, there is no evidence that those
who claimed to understand actually understood. In future lessons, I could try to teach about
NOS as a whole class discussion as opposed to one-on-one. This might allow students to notice
the similarities and differences between their color mixing experiment and the experiences of

peers, thus highlighting some of the principles of NOS. Additionally, I could assess the level of
student knowledge of NOS by creating an exit question that asks students to identify the parts of
the activity that can be seen in other science activities that they have done (i.e. experimenting,
observing, making inferences, using evidence, different findings amongst peers, etc,).
Cognitive scientists tell us that students need to relate new ideas to their experiences
and place new ideas into a framework for understanding (Brown and Able, 2007). Using the 5Es
method of instruction allowed opportunities to bring forth prior knowledge of colors as they
engaged in a book reading activity, relate new ideas to their experiences as they explored ideas
through the color mixing activity, and place their new ideas into a framework for understanding
as they explained and elaborated on their growing understanding of color mixing and NOS
through observations and inferences. Additionally, this method facilitated deeper understanding
because students learned about color mixing through multiple modes. The most challenging
part about implementing the 5Es method of instruction was teacher time to assess and evaluate
student work. Students were successful in evaluating their understanding in their new
information as they used their evaluations to make inferences and alternate tertiary colors. The
lesson plan provided time for student and teacher evaluation but time management only allotted
for the students to evaluate their work for deeper learning.
I found that time management was the most challenging aspect of this lesson. In order
to have felt more successful with the outcome of my lesson, I feel that I would have needed
about 10 more minutes to collect students as a group to discuss the activity as a whole and
individual student experiences. This would have allowed for better teacher evaluation of whether
or not the objectives were met. Furthermore, it would have allowed for specific understandings
to be clarified while misconceptions were addressed and discussed. I feel that students would
have had a more solid understanding of what was learned if they were able to have a
concluding discussion that connected the activity and new understandings to the big idea of the
lesson. One way that I might manage my time better in future lessons would be to plan a set
time for each component of the lesson, and stick to it. For this lesson I had a plan for how long
each portion of a lesson should take, but then we had a meaningful discussion about colors
while we were reading Mix It Up I decided to ignore the schedule so that students could
continue to have rich conversation. Unfortunately, time management is always a challenging
part of teaching, especially for beginning teachers. I feel that time management, and knowing
when to go according to schedule and when to be flexible with time, is something that I will
become more successful with as I have more teaching opportunities to practice this skill.
In conclusion, this lesson provided full student success in the understanding of the
components of a tertiary color. All students walked away knowing how to engineer tertiary
colors through color mixing. This understanding was assessed through student-teacher
discussions and student ability to engineer a minimum of one tertiary color. The most
challenging aspects of this lesson were teaching students about NOS and time management.
Using a big idea to guide instruction set up an atmosphere that allowed all students to
experience and partake in elements and principles related to NOS. Students were able to
identify that they were making observations and inferences, however, there was no evidence
that shows that students experienced any success in explicitly identifying these components of
the lesson as elements and principles related to NOS.

Reference List
Brown, P., & Able, S. (2007, January). Examining the learning and children
Olson, J. (2008, December). Concept-focused teaching: using big ideas to guide instruction in
science. Methods & Strategies
Tullet, H., & Franceschelli, C. (2014). Mix it up!. United States: Chronicle Books
UAMSart (2013). Painting - mixing primary, secondary, and tertiary colors Available from