Task 1


Materials and tools for a working group:

Concept Cartoons© snowman, worksheets, tools and materials proposed by pupils

The teacher introduces the pupils to a specific situation that is supposed to evoke pupils‘ experiences with similar situations through the concept (Concept Cartoons method 1). The picture shows a snowman who is being put on a coat by the children they built. However, they have a different opinion. The task of the pupils in the groups is to agree on which child‘s statement is true (in accordance with their idea of such a situation). It is important to alert pupils to try to justify their choice based on previous knowledge, experience.

The picture does not provide enough information for the solution, to learn what the pupils should gradually accomplish. For example, there is a lack of information about the temperature of the air from which the coat is made and, for example, whether the sun is shining or not. The initial task serves the teacher to identify the ideas of the pupils about this natural phenomenon (thermal insulation).

When pupils agree on the statement and have justified it, the teacher evokes a discussion among pupils in different groups so that they argue for their decision. If there are no disagreements during the discussion or the discussion is finished, the teacher leads the pupils to solve the second part of the task. The task of pupils is to think about when the statements they disagreed with in the initial discussion could be true. The task of pupils is to describe the conditions under which the first, second and third statements would be true. Essentially, this task leads to the creation of predictions, which in turn can result in a research activity whereby pupils learn how the phenomenon behaves.

If pupils did not mention any of the following conditions during the discussion, the teacher guides the pupils to try to consider them: Does it matter whether the sun is shining or not? Does it matter what color is the coat (white, black)? Is it important how many degrees is there (whether freezing or not)? Is it important from what material is the coat that children try to wear to a snowman?

The Concept Cartoons method provides, in addition to the aforementioned identification of how pupils explain selected natural phenomena, the development of argumentative capability. If pupils agree to the statement, they must support it with an argument that is credible and understandable to other classmates. On the basis of a reasoned discussion, there are usually several parallel predictions that lead pupils to research activities. Teacher suggests that only one of the predictions made should be verified. Since the task set is to make pupils aware of the effect of light on objects at a distance, the teacher suggests trying to verify the following prediction (Task 1b): If the outside temperature is 5 °C above zero and the sun is shining, the black coat will cause the snowman to melt faster.

It is useful if the teacher creates this prediction by referring to some of the experiences that pupils have with similar situations. For example, it may refer to a different feeling of warmth in summer if we are standing in direct sunlight in a white or black shirt. Then the teacher and the pupil discuss this prediction to make sure that all the pupils understand what the goal of the exploration will be. Pupils can express themselves with the prediction in terms of identifying themselves with it, or even in denial of this prediction. The teacher emphasizes that this is just anprediction and needs to be verified.

Consequently, it leads pupils to propose a procedure for how this predictioncan be verified. The task of pupils is to propose a procedure from available materials and tools so that the result of the proposed examination procedure is a convincing argument for them to confirm or disprove the prediction. Pupils draw their design and describe it in Task 1b. Each group develops its own design procedure and then compares it.

During the presentation of the group proposals procedure, the teacher guides the other groups to try to find potential errors in the proposed solutions. He himself enters the discussion with the pupils and emphasizes that it is possible to verify clearly the presumption provided by the proposals. Therefore, each presenting group asks how they find out during the investigation that the melting has started (or has been accelerated). Together they will develop a procedure that can be used. They will draw up a list of aids that they will either bring or play their task of observation for the homework. They record the result of the investigation in a worksheet, while the pupil‘s teacher points out that it is important to evaluate the prediction in the result. He then discusses with the pupils what they have found and generalizes (referring to the findings of the pupils) that the investigation shows that the light in the dark materials is transformed into the heat of the object itself. The reason for this is that under the white coat there was nothing under the black, which implies that it is the color of the material and not the material itself that causes the snowman to melt in sunny weather. On the contrary, the white coat acted as an insulator compared to the snowman who wore no coat.

At this point, it is important to emphasize that the most important part of the activity (the pupil‘s development) is the creation of the verification process for the predictions and the subsequent improvement of the proposal in the discussion compared to the actual implementation of the procedure.