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    Rights: 2015. University of Waikato. All Rights Reserved.
    Published 4 February 2015 Referencing Hub media
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    Paparangi Primary School teacher Samantha Diggins uses the Harnessing the Sun resources to introduce her young learners to the idea that every scientific investigation begins with a prediction. Prior to their investigation, students share their predictions in a collaborative classroom where no judgements are made.

    The students can be seen carrying out the activity and revisiting their predictions in the Revisiting predictions video clip.

    To think about:

    How often have you found that establishing students’ prior knowledge has altered the direction of the subsequent enquiry?

    See the related video, Revisiting predictions.

    Transcript

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    We’re going to start our unit today talking about our friend the Sun. Now, where is the Sun? Who can tell me where the Sun is? If I went to look for him, where would I find him? Jacob?

    STUDENT

    It’s in outer space.

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    Oh, outer space. Anywhere else I could find him?

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    The school’s an Enviroschool, and we had the opportunity to apply to Schoolgen for solar panels, and one of the things about solar panels is it’s a very complicated idea. So we thought we’d look at what the Sun actually did and about the Sun, so that was our basic starting-off plan.

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    So what we’re going to be looking for now, is – thinking hard, so put your little thinking caps on, put them on, cool, we’ve got our science ones on at the moment – and we’re going to be thinking about all of the things that we already know about the Sun. OK, Darren, what do you know about the Sun?

    STUDENT

    It’s up in the sky.

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    Most of the prior knowledge they had about the Sun was that it was bright, that it was in the sky, and the other prior knowledge was all to do with sunsafe – sunscreen, covering up. So most of their Sun knowledge was actually about protecting themselves from the Sun, not actually what the Sun did, where the Sun was, how the Sun helps us.

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    What else? Yes, Jenna.

    STUDENT

    It’s far away.

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    And then we sort of started looking at well, what else does the Sun do? When is the Sun up? When is the Sun asleep? Why is the Sun actually there?

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    So we’re going to make some predictions about what’s going to happen with the water outside in the dishes. Now predictions are …

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    And so we talked about predictions. We used guesses. And a guess is never wrong. A guess is always right until you try to find out if it actually is right.

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    Who else has got an idea? Oh, Terry-Ellen, what’s your idea?

    STUDENT

    The water might change colours.

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    The water might change colour. Cool.

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    Whatever they said was written down, and even if I thought in my head it was the weirdest, wackiest idea, I tried to make sure my face didn’t express it, and it was written down on the sheet and valued as much as anyone else’s guess or prediction.

    It links in with your reading and your writing. They’re making predictions and guesses all through their lives. That’s what children do. They make a guess. They test it in their own way. It’s not an experiment per se, but they are constantly predicting and testing, so to them it was no different, it was just something that we were going to try.

    SAMANTHA DIGGINS

    That’s right. That’s what you said, isn’t it? The water might turn into a Sun. You’re doing a great job, guys. Keep it up.

    Acknowledgements
    Samantha Diggins
    Paparangi School