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Before or After?

When do you do lab work—before talking about a topic or after talking about a topic?

You might want to try this experiment:

  • For half of your classes, use the Science Take-Out kit before you start talking about a topic.
  • For the other half of your classes, use the Science Take-Out kit after you talk about a topic.
  • Spend the same amount of time on the lab activity and on talking about the topic for all your classes.

Here are a few ways to explore the effectiveness using a Science Take-Out kit before versus after discussing a topic:

  • Select specific questions on the student handout for the Science Take-Out kit activity. How are the before and after group answers similar and how are they different?
  • Give the same topic test to both the before and the after group. Compare both groups’ success on the entire test and/or specific test questions. Are the results similar or different?
  • Make a list of the questions that the before and after groups ask as they are doing the kit activities.  How are students’ questions similar and how are they different?  Hint: This is easy to do if you ask students to write their questions on the board or on a sheet of paper.

 questions whiteboard

  • Consider asking students in the before and after groups to write an IQA exit slip at the end of the activity.  How are the IQA exit slips similar and how are they different?

 IQA rev1

Having students ask questions about an activity is a good thing. It means that they care about the answer. Whether you use the before or after approach, there are different styles that you might use to answer student questions.  Have students write their question on the board before you answer it.  This reduces the number of low level questions that result from students who feel it is easier to ask you than think or read.  It also allows you to ask if other students have a similar question so that you know you need a brief “class meeting” to assist your students.

We would love to hear what you learned from comparing the before and after approach to using Science Take-Out kits!  Please consider sharing your experiences with us at via email at [email protected]