KWL System

When I was in Elementary School, a technique often employed as a jumping off point for new subjects was the Know/Wonder/Learn (KWL) technique.  At the beginning of a class period, the teacher will ask the students what they:

Have the students come up with a list of things they know about a particular subject.  For example: let's say the topic of the day was phases of matter (solid, liquid, gas,...plasma, I suppose).  A possible list the students would come up with is:
-solid things are hard
-water is a liquid
-when ice melts (a solid), it becomes a liquid (water)
-and so forth...

Next, have the students come up with a list of things they wonder, or would like to know about the particular subject.  Continuing with the topic of phase changes, a possible list might look like:
-are solid things always cold?
-why are some liquids thicker than others?
-and so forth....

Finally, after the experiment is completed, the students will create a list of what they:

At the end, have the students solidify the lessons of the day by listing what they learned.  Again, a sample list might look like:
-liquid things take the shape of their container, but solids do not
-sometimes, solids can go directly into the gas form
-and so forth....

The KWL system is a good guiding frame work for conducting a class session, and will be used this this science explorations course.