Presentations were an amazing experience this week. Students improved in their ability to "talk science" and their electronic posters got more and more focused. They could tell this too and I think they walked away with a real sense of accomplishment. In our de-brief sessions, they said time and again how much they learned about heat transfer AND how hard it was at the beginning but how they "got" it by the end....usually followed by a big smile!!!
Focused listening is crucial
Guest expertise allows students to achieve more things
Learning the pedagogy for scientific argumentation is a high art-form
- Again I learn the lesson that it helps to sit and really listen to what each group saying. That focused attention is crucial. Several groups had subpar presentations but with a few tweaks...."oh, that's what I should have done", they could recraft their presentation.
In order to do this I have to design lessons that allow me the freedom to become a part of the audience. Again this back to what Sheryl taught me this summer to morph into the passion based classroom where students know they're in charge.
- Having guest speakers help. We had a mechanical engineer present to the classes...and he was brilliant. Mostly because you could tell he does presentation after presentation. The graphics were engaging and the content was relevant. Students loved what he explained to them....and they were able to transfer watching him present to what they should do. It wasn't hard for me to ask them...."Did Mr. M read the slide to you when he presented?" "No...he told a story about it and the slide had the key words."....and lightbulb moment...."Oh, that's what I should do?" and then they were off.
The generosity of parents to participate in our classes is staggering. This dad chatted via email with my students about their analysis of heating patterns, asked questions and suggested ways to think about things differently....all before he gave up an entire morning to come to speak with my students. He's an engineer for a local consulting firm and he works at building hospitals....knows tons about HVAC systems. What benefit my students gained from interacting with him and validating their ideas....nevermind the excellent role model he presented about how engineering can be a great career option.
- Practicing scientific argumentation is good. Seems like a no-brainer to say that, but increment practice steps really help. Since we've been focused on relating data vs evidence, they're really getting better at it.
Teaching for discourse is hard work. Well worth it. But it takes years and years to get any good at it and to develop any intutitive sense of what will work with students. I'm getting there. The big encouragement is that the Next Generation Science Standards are going to rely heavily on this idea....so I'm ahead of the curve on something.
Listening picture used permission under CC Attribution license http://www.flickr.com/photos/40732566596@N01/109538354/