Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education
UNIT TEMPLATE: Text-Based STEM Inquiry
This template provides an approach for creating a science investigation that includes reading-focused inquiry to build student science literacy skills. The template was created to support library media specialists and STEM teacher cohorts in the School Librarians Advancing STEM Learning project, led by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management (ISKME) in partnership with Granite State University, New Hampshire, and funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Part I: Unit Title: Modern Physics: Stranger than Fiction
Part II: Background on LMS and Science Teacher RelationshipThis lesson was created by Physics teachers Nathan Carle and Charles Swift, and Library Media Specialist Lisa Petrie. Lisa’s strengths were identified as text-based inquiry and evaluation & curation of resources. Nathan and Charles requested to see Lisa model how students can scaffold and find the central idea of difficult texts, and how the project can be made more accessible to students by using a LibGuide. Nathan and Charles strengths are science content knowledge, hands-on inquiry, and the development of quality performance assessments. Lisa requests that Nathan and Charlie model what inquiry looks like in a science classroom.
Part III: Unit Description:This unit includes 5-10 lessons that culminate in students demonstrating their ability to find meaning in complex text and incorporate key ideas of modern physics by completing the final project chosen from a menu of options.
Modern physics is a very broad topic. We will be focusing on three of the main pillars of modern physics — special relativity, general relativity, and quantum theory. The goal of the unit it to have students use the concepts of modern physics accurately in a creative way and increase their willingness and confidence to learn more about the subjects beyond high school. Modern physics is intimidating to the general public. We hope to spark students interest and have students realize that they can make sense out of the counter intuitive model of reality.
Each topic will be broken into several phases of understanding:
- Limitations of classical physics
- Key principle that led to modern physics
- Models for describing modern physics
- Predictions and experiments that support and provide evidence for modern physics theories
The students will explore the phases by using inquiry-based reading. They will explore an anchor text for meaning while looking for where it addresses the four phases above. Students will then perform additional research and apply what they have learned in class to create their final project.
Part IV: Standards
- NGSS Content Standard
- HS-PS4-3 Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information TransferEvaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.
- Note: Much of the content covered goes beyond the traditional science content standards.
- NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
- Practice # 2: Developing and using models
- Evaluate merits and limitations of two different models of the same proposed tool, process, mechanism or system in order to select or revise a model that best fits the evidence or design criteria
- Use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system
- Practice # 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
- Critically read scientific literature adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas or conclusions and/or to obtain scientific and/or technical information to summarize complex evidence, concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
- NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
- Cause and Effect - Mechanism and Explanation
- Scale, proportion, and quantity
- CCSS Science Literacy Standards
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Part V: Unit Essential Question
- How can modern physics make reality stranger than fiction?
Part VI: Goals for Using Inquiry
The goal for using inquiry in this unit is to have students determine the central idea in readings about modern physics. The science teacher and the library media specialist have selected an anchor text about modern physics and supporting anchor texts where the students will determine the central idea and look for how the author addresses the four phases of understanding for modern physics stated in the unit description.
The goal for using inquiry in this unit is to have students examine the anchor text as an open invitation to inquiry about modern physics. Using the anchor text as the base and 1-2 supportive texts about modern physics, students will discover central ideas and conclusions from the texts for a culminating activity modern physics. Students will narrow down their content to a few specific, targeted ideas that they seek to incorporate in the culminating activity.
Part VII: Summative Assessment Description and Rubric
The assessment for this unit will include a traditional quiz of concepts and literacy skills as well as a Performance assessment that consists of a menu of options for incorporating modern physics into a fictional setting.
Part VIII: Prior Knowledge Needed
This unit is at the end of the junior or senior year. Students have been developing mathematical models and conceptual models of motion, electricity and magnetism and waves. Students will be able to describe these models but may be unfamiliar with their limitations. In addition, students have been practicing literacy skills throughout the year and are ready to tackle complex texts.
Part IX: Student Learning Objectives
- TSWBAT determine the central idea of a complex text by reading, annotating and participating in group discussions about the reading.
- TSWBAT recognize that the speed of an object effects which model is appropriate to use when analyzing an object's motion by creating and analysing graphs of length, mass, and time versus speed.
- TSWBAT describe the limitations of the physics models developed earlier this year by identifying where and why the models no longer match experimental results.
- TSWBAT discuss the use of analogies and/or models in modern physics by discussing the benefits and drawbacks to analogies in the readings.
- TSWBAT demonstrate their comfort and knowledge with modern physics by properly using the key ideas in their final project.
Part X: Text Set Description (used to analyze the purpose and goal of each text they provide to the students)
Text Title & Hyperlink
| Text Purpose||Text-Dependent Questions|| Accommodations for Diverse Learners|
|Anchor Text Understanding the Physics of our Universe: What is Quantum Mechanics?||Our Anchor Text is designed to provide science content about quantum theory while provoking student inquiry around the essential question:|
How can modern physics make reality stranger than fiction?The ATOS level of the text is an 10.3, which is appropriate for the end of 10th grade. Linked here is the Qualitative Analysis of text complexity.The structure of the text is fairly straight-forward, and the article itself is quite short. However, the knowledge demands and reader & task considerations make this text sufficiently complex for 11th-12th graders.
|1. According to the text, what is the definition of “quantum physics”? 2. How does the author describe “wave-particle duality”?3. Citing evidence from the text, explain why “The Ultimate Divas” is a good sub-heading for that section of the text?4. How did the double-slit video enhance your understanding of that phenomena in a way that the text did not?5. The author says that the key to unlocking quantum phenomena could lead to at least two powerful possibilities. What are they?||1. Tier Two & Tier Threevocabulary will be chosen ahead of time and definitions will be added as footnotes to copies of the text.2. Teacher will read text aloud in class with students, checking for understanding along the way.3. The LMS and physics teachers will collaborate on a LibGuide that includes links to all of the texts, along with vocabulary lists to aid in understanding.|
|Supporting Text #1Einstein’s “Relativity”||This chapter from a book by Einstein highlights the role of analogy in drawing conclusions and allows students to read about relativity from a primary source. The ATOS level of the text is a 10.9, which is appropriate for 11th and 12th grades when the qualitative analysis and the language usage is taken into account.||1. What role does the analogy play in creating an argument for general relativity?||We will be reading this one paragraph at a time and teasing out the central idea and building a picture of the man in a chest together.|
|Supporting Text #2Short Story: The Qubits of College Acceptance||This is a short story “flash fiction” written by an 11th grader for a contest. We will use this as an exemplar of incorporating ideas of modern physics in a creative story.The ATOS level of the text is 6.6, which is low for 11th and 12th graders but appropriate for the role as an example.||1. What science principle did the author incorporate?2. Use the rubric to grade the story, as if it was submitted for our final project. Where did the author exceed expectations? Where did the author approach or not meet expectations?||Little scaffolding should be needed. Teacher reads story out loud.|
|Supporting Text #3Quantum Theory A to Z||This will be given to the students as a reference of other ideas they may incorporate into their final document.||No text dependent questions for this text. It will be used as a reference.||Little scaffolding should be needed with this text, but we will work with students to help them understand some of the linked articles from the text.|
|Supporting Text #4Will We Ever...Understand Quantum Theory?||This supporting text provides an overview of some major topic and has embedded video to help scaffold for students.The ATOS level of the text is 11.2.||1. What aspect of quantum theory caused Einstein to say “God does not play dice.”?2. What scientific claims does the author make? Cite evidence from the text. 3. Does the author cite scientific evidence for his claims? Discuss the scientific evidence. 4. What two interpretations does the author discuss? What are the key differences between these claims?5. According to the text, what does Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle say about an electron’s momentum?|
|Supporting Text #5Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity||This supporting text provides a summary of General Relativity with emphasis on the experimental evidence that supports the theoryThe ATOS level of the text is 11.0|
Part XI: Suggested Lesson Breakdown/Pacing
Student Learning Objectives
| Aligned Student Learning Task and Suggested Timing|| Formative Assessment|| Important Accommodations|
|55-minute block||TSWBAT||Chalk talk- What modern physics do you know about that you are interested in learning about?Students will review the project outline.||Teacher will facilitate an open-ended discussion and address “burning” questions.|
|55-minute and 110-minute block||TSWBAT recognize that the speed of an object effects which model is appropriate to use when analyzing an object's motion by creating and analysing graphs of length, mass, and time versus speed. TSWBAT identify key components and counterintuitive ideas of special relativity by incorporating content from various videos, readings and class discussions into the creation a listicle. TSWBAT describe the limitations of the physics models developed earlier this year by identifying where and why the models no longer match experimental results.||Special relativityOver 3 class periods students will interact with a videos and text to help understand special relativity. In addition students will graph changes in time, length and mass as speed increases to help understand the when the newtonian model of motion breaks down and where special relativity is necessary.||Graphing sheet will be assessed for understanding. “Listicle” will be assessed for content and presentation.||Students will be given formulas and individual graphing help will be given where needed.|
|110-minute period + 2 55 minute periods||TSWBAT define spacetime and discuss how space and time change when near large masses?TSWBAT evaluate the force and acceleration model of acceleration by annotating a reading and engaging in discussion.TSWBAT discuss the use of analogies and/or models in modern physics by discussing the benefits and drawbacks to analogies in the readings.||General RelativityStudents will explore the consequences of general relativity by reading an excerpt from a book by Einstein and interacting with the Perimeter Institute’s “Why are we stuck to the Earth?”||Review of homework reading responses.||For all students we will be working through the Einstein reading together, and illustrating and writing the main point after each paragraph.|
|55-minute block||TSWBAT determine the central idea of a complex text by reading, annotating and participating in group discussions about the reading.||Students will read anchor tex[a][b]t as groups and annotations as necessary.||Teacher will ask text-dependent questions allowing students to process information, and teacher to check for understanding.||Students can access the anchor text anytime either in print copy, or electronically via the unit LibGuide.|
|2-110 minute periods- 2 55 minute periods.||TSWBAT concisely describe key aspects of quantum theory including: superposition, wave particle duality, uncertainty principle, entanglement, quantum computing TSWBAT determine the central idea of a complex text by reading, annotating and participating in group discussions about the reading||Quantum TopicsOver the course of several class periods, students will engage in a series of discussions, videos, and demonstrations about quantum physics.||See Quantum Topics||SeeQuantum Topics|
|55-minute block-110 minute block||TSWBAT recognize what type of work is needed for the final project.TSWBAT use action collab methods to help brainstorm ideas for their final project.TSWBAT demonstrate their comfort and knowledge with modern physics by properly using the key ideas in their final project.||Developing a final projectStudents will review the unit, work in pairs to brainstorm ideas, and have time to develop the final project.||No formative assessment. Just summative||The in class work should be accessible to all.Accommodations for the final project will be individual and based on a student’s IEP 504 plan. An example might be an oral discussion with a student instead of a written piece of work.|
Part XII: Attachment of Student Work Examples
(Please include links or attachments of 3 work samples that have been scored using your rubric and have feedback from both STEM teachers and the LMS. Consider including both exemplars and samples that have room for improvement. Please do not include student names or pictures.)
Part XIII: Teacher and Librarian Reflection on the Implementation of the Unit
This unit was a success, keeping the students engaged and excited about physics right up to graduation!
The “Fabric of the Cosmos” video discussed teleportation and entanglement. This led a lot of students to use this concept in their stories without fully understanding the connection. We will have to either focus on how understand this aspect better or not go down this particular path of study.
Student feedback was positive with quotes like “ It was definitely the most enjoyable part of the class.”
Almost 90% of the students said that they liked the format that included a combination of reading, videos, class discussion and activities.”We could ask questions and debate before learning the answer, and it helped me really understand the concepts.”
“Why can’t it just all make sense? The universe is weird.”
Licensed by ISKME CC-BY 2016