Have you had one of those moments where you are doing something totally unrelated to teaching and then an idea pops in your head? Well, I was out walking tonight and I had an idea. I have no idea, sorry about that one, if this idea is any good or not but I had to write it down so I wouldn’t forget it. Any decent lesson starts somewhere and it may just come out of a bad idea that gets worked into a good one.

So here’s the idea in a nutshell. I am getting ready to begin work around the climate change PE in 8th grade science. Traditionally I would have walked them through the process step by step, notes, labs, demos and the such until they took a test with a written response component where they answered some lame question about climate change and parroted back to me what I had told them. Well, I don’t want that anymore. I want my students to apply the knowledge they have, to acquire the knowledge they need to solve the problem at hand. The problem is, Why is the planet warming? Not a complicated question at all, right? How do I put it in the students’ hands without losing the 3D aspect of the learning. How do I get the students to take ownership of the learning process?

Back to my idea:

  1. Start the unit with the question, why is the planet warming? Allow for some student discussion with their shoulder partner and their table group. They have to agree on one statement for the table group and defend their answer.
  2. Now I am thinking of showing them a short video to get them thinking some more. A quick individual written assignment about what they just watched.
  3. Then I move into the part I am really interested to figure out. This is where I want them to move into the drivers seat for what and how they need to learn to answer the question we started with, why is the planet warming? What about having them go through a document where they have to develop an answer for each of the Science and Engineering Practices with the Cross Cutting Concepts? They already have the content piece.
    1. Kind of like, what questions would we need to ask to better understand this topic
    2. What models would we need to find or develop to use in this learning experience
    3. What evidence do we need to collect to analyze?
    4. What kind of experiments do we need, can we do to learn about this topic?
    5. As we are working, are there certain patterns emerging?
    6. Do we see a certain cause and effect present?
  4. I don’t know? I kind of like the idea, but not sure if it would work. I think it would force them to think deep about the issue. I don’t want to give it to them but I could be a facilitator, help guide them, coach them in deciding. What do you all think? I put this out there as a SUPER ROUGH DRAFT of an idea, a starting point and would be interested to see what my PLC has to think about it.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!