Teaching Accuracy and Error Concepts

Subject: Education
Pages: 6
Words: 1433
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College

Lesson Plan

  • Name: WGU Task Objective Number: 602.4.17-07

General Information

  • Subject(s): Science.
  • Topic or Unit of Study: The effect of temperature changes on water.
  • Grade/Level: 3.

Instructional Setting

The lesson will be conducted in a science classroom in which there will be 10 students. The learners will be sitting at five desks at which they will be using scales and measuring glasses to estimate the effects of temperature changes on the water.

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Standards and Objectives

Your State Core Curriculum/Student Achievement Standard(s)

 The student can apply scientific equipment to carry out investigations and develop evidence-based conjectures about natural phenomena (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 2012, unpaged).

Lesson Objective(s)

The learners will be able to use weighing scales and measuring glasses to determine the impact of temperature changes on the water. The students can predict the impact of temperature changes on chemical substances such as water. Finally, they can properly apply such concepts as error and accuracy while conducting empirical investigations and using measuring tools.

  • Instructional Materials: weighing scales, bottles of frozen and unfrozen water, measuring glasses, pens, pencils, and textbooks.
  • Resources: Edger, M. (2003). Teaching Science In Elementary Schools. New York: Discovery Publishing House.

Instructional Plan

A sequence of Instructional Procedures/Activities/Events (provide a description and indicate the approximate time for each):

Identification of Student Prerequisite Skills Needed for Lesson

Learners can observe, describe, and measure such properties of material objects like size, color, shape, temperature, and color. Furthermore, the students know that there are three states of matter (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 2012, unpaged). These are the knowledge and skills that I expected from learners.

Presentation of New Information or Modeling: 15 Minutes

In the beginning, I will conduct a brief experiment in front of learners. In particular, I will ask students to look at two bottles with frozen and unfrozen soda water. The materials for this experiment will be prepared beforehand. Each of the bottles will be filled with 0.5 liters of water. Yet, one of them will be cooled to the temperature of 0 °C; in turn, the other one will have a temperature of 25 °C.

Furthermore, the students will express conjectures about the weight of these bottles. I intend to demonstrate that these bottles have the same weight, even though the volume of substance within these bottles differs. Furthermore, when the frozen bottle will reach room temperature, I will again weigh the bottle to demonstrate that the weight of the liquid has not changed. To a great extent, this activity is aimed at breaking a misconception that is common among third-grade students. In particular, some of them can believe that the weight of a substance changes when a temperature rises or drops (Koch, 2010).

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Furthermore, during the presentation, I will explain how one can use such tools as a weighting scale and measuring glasses. This issue is important for explaining such a notion as the accuracy of the measurement. In particular, they should understand that measuring tools can sometimes produce different results. The learners should understand when these differences can be disregarded and when they cannot be overlooked.

Guided Practice: 15 minutes

During the guided practice, the learners will conduct their experiments. Again, the students will determine whether the changes in the temperature of a substance can produce any effects on its weight or volume. They will be observing how the volume and weight of the substance change as its temperature increases or decreases. The vessels will be filled with the same quantity of the same substance, namely water. Furthermore, the learners will use such tools as weighing scales and measuring glasses. During this part of the lesson, the students will be able to work in cooperative learning groups because in this way they can learn how to work on a group research problem (Michaelsen, 2002, p. 50). This is one of the goals that I wanted to attain.

Independent Student Practice: 10

During the final part of the lesson, I will ask learners to complete a short test that during which they have to answer multiple-choice questions about the effects of liquids on chemical substances like water.

Culminating or Closing Procedure/Activity/Event: 5 minutes

At the end of this lesson, I will ask students to summarize the main points of the lesson. Furthermore, I will provide homework instructions to the learners. Finally, I will praise students for their performance during the lesson.

Pedagogical Strategy (or Strategies)

In the course of this lesson, I will rely primarily on the path-smoothing model which implies that a teacher should help the learner avoid mistakes and misunderstanding of natural phenomena or scientific concepts. However, I will use the elements of such a strategy known as Five E’s. It consists of such elements as the engagement of students, their exploration of natural phenomena, explanation, elaboration, and evaluation. This approach has helped make students more interested in the topic.

Differentiated Instruction

This class included a student with a motor skills disorder. Therefore, I needed to assist him during the guided practice. This task was particularly important when he was using weighing scales and a measuring glass.

Student Assessment/Rubrics

The following rubric was developed.

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Grade Description of a student’ performance
Excellent The student can apply such tools as weighing scales and measuring glasses to estimate the effects of temperature changes on a substance. Furthermore, the learner can predict the impacts of temperature changes on a liquid.
Good A student can predict how a substance will transform itself as its temperature increases or decreases. However, he cannot use measurement tools accurately.
Needs certain improvement A student cannot properly use measurement tools to describe such properties of a substance as weight and volume. Furthermore, he cannot predict the effects of temperature changes on the water.

Responses to the guided questions

Observation and Description

The lesson was conducted in the third-grade classroom, and I needed to explain a new topic to 10 students. During these 45 minutes, the learners were working with different measuring tools. Each of the desks could give space to two students. Furthermore, the age of learners ranged from 9 to 11.

Analysis, Exploration, and Reasoning

I had to deviate from the original lesson plan because I needed to provide an extra explanation to a group of students regarding such a concept as aggregate states of matter. I need to explain that the same chemical substance such as water can explain in different forms like liquid, solid matter, and gas. I expected them to know about these issues. This is why I had to depart from the initial plan.

Connections to other effective teaching practices

The path-smoothing model can be connected to some questioning strategies. For example, a teacher can ask students a series of open-ended questions about the use of measurement techniques or the effects of temperature changes on the water. This strategy is beneficial because an educator can identify some misconceptions of students, and help them get rid of their errors.


There was a group of learners who struggled with the new material. When I was conducting this lesson, I relied on the assumptions that learners knew about three aggregate states of a substance. Nevertheless, they lacked this knowledge. Therefore, I had to explain this topic in greater detail to them. This deviation was necessary because these learners might have misunderstood many other science-related topics, provided they did not have a good idea about the aggregate states of matter.


If I had to conduct this lesson, I would have made more extensive use of the Five Es model which was mentioned before. This approach implies that students should have more autonomy during classroom activities. In this case, a teacher acts as a facilitator whose intervention is minimal.

I would have chosen this model because of several considerations. In my opinion, students can find scientific topics more interesting if they have a chance to act independently without relying on a teacher’s guidance. Furthermore, in this way, they learn how to act and think like scientists.

Personal Meaning and Professional Growth

The instructional model that I used differed from the model demonstrated in the video. I relied more on the path-smoothing model to help learners avoid possible errors. In contrast, this observed lesson exemplified the use of a Five Es model which consists of such elements as the engagement of students, exploration, explanation of a certain phenomenon, elaboration of learners’ research techniques, and evaluation of learners’ performance. I relied on the path-smoothing model because I needed to break some misconceptions of students, especially about when they try to establish a relationship between the temperature of a chemical substance and weight.

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Reference List

Edger, M. (2003). Teaching Science In Elementary Schools. New York: Discovery Publishing House.

Koch, J. (2010). Science stories: Science methods for elementary and middle school teachers. Wadsworth: Cengage Publishing.

Michaelsen, L. (2002). Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. (2012). 3rd Grade Wisconsin Standards. Web.