Teaching science when you don’t know diddly-squat: Why do cows have tails?DOWNLOAD FILE
March 6, 2017 - Author: Michigan State University Extension
- Several lengths of rope
- Other items that could be used to modify the tails for their experiments such as wire coat hangers, wooden dowels, tape, fly swatters
Asking questions and defining problems
Ask the youth: Why do cows have tails? Don’t give your ideas, but when the youth have explanations, ask more questions. How could you figure out if that is true? Are you sure? How do you know? Have you ever observed a cow using its tail in that way?
Developing and using models
Allow each youth to make a tail using the rope. Let them discuss the ways the tail is similar and different to a cow’s tail. Can you modify the tail to make it more like a cow’s tail? How long should the tail be in relation to the body? How do you determine that?
Planning and carrying out investigations
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- If cows’ tails are meant to swat flies, why aren’t they long enough to reach their whole body?
- Are there any consequences for docking cow tails? How would you test that to figure out if it is true? How do you know if a cow is stressed?
Science & Engineering Practices
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.