As my work continues on implementing the Next Generation Science Standards for my 5th grade classes, we have been examining the cause of seasons. Students are supposed to have the understanding that with the Earth changing position relative to the Sun, it will receive different amounts of sunlight based on the tilt of the axis. To illustrate this, I set forth to have students take data for various points over 12 months. Students used the amount of daylight we received in New York City for each month. My lesson had to continue to provide a science background while teaching these 5th graders the basic navigation of a spreadsheet. To accomplish this, I used Google Classroom to provide students with an assignment that had my lesson in it. I also, provided a copy of a custom spreadsheet I created for the assignment. Students were easily able to input the data for themselves, while creating some very interesting graphs. To add some basic functions into the spreadsheets, I had them take the average amount of daylight for each month based off of the 7 days they provided amounts for. This illustrated a strong correlation between the direct amount of sunlight we received in the city to the changing months leading to the seasons.
This lesson was great for taking students to the next level in terms of a challenge. Much of the Next Generation Science Standards require students to represent their learning with a model or graph. There really is no simpler way than to use Google Classroom. By creating this assignment as a Google Classroom assignment, students were kept directly into the classroom workflow that they have been working with for the past month. Besides the new teaching towards using spreadsheets, they were not thrown for a loop here. To them it was a new way to demonstrate that they understood what they were learning.