Thursday, September 1, 2011
Had a great lesson today on direction following. My fifth graders are working on designing their own simple experiments using the design process. As we work on writing out our procedures and step by step instructions, I thought it was time for some fun "How To" direction writing. So......
I had my students write step by step instructions on "How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich". Obviously, with peanut allergies out there, you can use any type of sandwich (or an alternative such as Sunflower Seed Butter....yum).
Once I gave ample time for the students to write their step-by-step instructions, I pulled out my apron and revealed that I would be taking volunteers to read their instructions word for word while I created the wonderful sandwich that they described. I started by calling on students that I noticed finishing their instructions in 2 minutes. Needless to say, we ended up with some pretty funny looking sandwiches. I did EXACTLY what their direction stated. For example, if it said put the bread on the plate, I placed the entire bag of bread on the plate. If they stated, "Put the peanut better on a piece of bread", I put the entire jar on the bread. You get the idea.
Anyone, as I continued to call for volunteers, the number of hands became fewer and fewer. I save my "thorough" students for last, but still to no avail. The closest sandwich landed me with an inside out lunch because it was never stated that I should put the sandwich together with the peanut butter and jelly facing each other.
The lesson learned...when writing instructions to an experiment, you must be as detailed as possible in order for it to be repeated accurately. We had a TON of fun, a thousand laughs and I guarantee that the experiment procedures will be a heck of a lot better by tomorrow's class.