In one of my classes, I have failed and failed miserably. We were working to identify the main variables in an experiment (independent, dependent and constant for right now). I had it planned out. We would do a simple experiment so we could refer back in order to identify those variables. We did the experiment before introducing the terms independent, dependent and constant. The class did the experiment, we reviewed each day for a week, tried identifying variables out of other scenarios and things seemed to be going ok. I had students who seemed to get it, some who were iffy with it and a handful who were still confused. I worked a little more with the students who were confused to try and help them before we took our first test. After working with them, I was pretty confident that the majority of the students were ok with it, not perfect, but ok. Once the class took the quiz, I was, well quite simply, not ready for the results. What I thought they would do, was not what I saw on the tests. Instead of having a few issues, I saw issues galore. Was it the test, was it how I presented it, was it the language was to complicated for them? This is my class of students who struggle and I had failed them.

So, what do I do next? I am not going to move on as if this never happened. It happened alright and it’s up to me to figure out how to fix it. The new plan is to try a different experiment, super simple one, with the students to help give them a new frame of reference. We will then move into some simple scenarios where they will be given four choices and they have to identify which choice is which variable with one as a distractor (that may be eliminated after I think some more on it), and then move into scenarios where they are identifying the variables without any choices to help them. Part of me wonders is this really necessary? Do they really need to be able to do this? I know it isn’t a DCI but I think it is a skill that helps them throughout their science education. What do you all think? Any thoughts?

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