This feature allows students to participate in hands-on investigations outside of the computer environment. The hands-on investigations provide concrete examples of the phenomena students learn about in the unit. Investigations also promote scientific reasoning by getting students to make predictions, observe and record outcome data and create explanations based on their findings.
The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
This feature is critical because hands-on work is essential to science learning. It permits the teacher to integrate off-line lab work into the activities. Authentic lab work in the real-world is more realistic than online simulations.
Context of Use:
This feature occurs twice in the Rock Cycle project. The rock cycle project is often used in conjunction with instruction on the larger rock cycle. Students often know some but not all of the terms used in the unit. Teachers often use the off-line investigations to reinforce lab skills.
Teachers have to figure out how to coordinate their students moving between the computer environment and the lab. Students and teachers are often glad to have a combination of hands-on and computer –based tasks in the unit.