EDU 6362 Teaching Scientific Strategies

Final Lesson Plan

This lesson explores sinking and floating as it relates to density. Student will compare reactions and behaviors of hot and cold water as each is introduced to room-temperature water.  Upon completion of this lesson students will have an incomplete understanding of density.  Students will, however, be able to operationally compare behaviors of sinking and floating in water.

FOSS PART 2: Hot and Cold Water- Sinking and Floating

Science Lesson full template

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EDU 6362 Teaching Scientific Strategies

Reflection Part 2-Demonstrating and Questioning

My mother made me a scientist without ever intending it. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: “So? Did you learn anything today?” But not my mother. She always asked me a different question. “Izzy,” she would say, “did you ask a good question today?” That difference–asking good questions– made me become a scientist!                                  Courtesy of Education Publications Center

Good questioning, that is the key!  To simply ask questions is easy, but to ask questions that expand on student thinking, activate student connections to self and scientific concepts, strengthen student comprehension, and allow students to synthesize ideas/concepts, is a much harder task.  Throughout our lesson development assignment this week our focus was on questioning and demonstrating.  While the demonstration portion, for me, comes a bit easier, specific questioning and question development, is a bit trickier.  One big idea that became clear is that whenever there is an opportunity to help students deepen scientific understanding, a question is not far behind.

Questions can take all forms; simple “yes or “no questions, polling questions, prior knowledge activation questions, connection questions, evaluative questions and synthesizing etc.  However,    throughout this week’s assignment, I have come to better understand, the process of successful questioning is not a thoughtless one. Questioning requires specific planning and predicting of student response. To question specific scientific concepts would only be easy if the students participated in investigations exactly as planned. But that is not a realistic scenario, no lesson ever unfold exactly as planned.  The real question then becomes what is the key ingredient to the planning successful, interactive, and educational lesson? The answer is a lesson that demands for the teacher to be adaptive, specific, and flexible in their questioning ability.  A lesson can be planned to happen one way only to have to change it midstream as students involve their own schema. Having the ability to understand specific questioning strategies and how to apply it, within a lesson, to deepen student understanding, proves to be a successful tool for any teacher.

This idea of developing specific questioning strategies is one that I hope to practice repeatedly and across curriculum. I found the article, Three Story Intellect, extremely supportive in honing questions as I planned my lesson. The marriage of Blooms Taxonomy and Costa’s Levels of Questioning provides specific patterns and academic language necessary to develop better questioning skills.  These specific language skills help support and challenge the student’s improvement of their own academic language skill set.  To improve more comprehensively my strengths and challenges as an educator, I hope to continue to adapt and support each student’s academic growth through specific “good” questioning.

 

EDU 6362 Teaching Scientific Strategies

EDU 6362- Scientific Strategies

Reflection Part 1- Processing Skills

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Italian physicist and astronomer.

 

 

Science, for me, has always been a subject that I do not feel quite comfortable with.  I read articles, listen to lessons, watch TED talks, and even help in the classroom, but I have never felt like I had a good grasp on scientific processes.  Developing this lesson in stages has helped me uncover some of the mystery of the science lesson.  I have a better understanding of scientific processing skill necessary for students to make connections, collect evidence, and evaluate it to form hypothesis or prove outcomes.  This type of planning must be intentional and scaffolded by the teacher, to ensure the best outcome for the student.

I was fortunate to be able to see my lesson taught by a master teacher, in a real classroom, and glean expertise from that teacher for my own lesson planning.  Although, I felt that my delivery was choppy and a bit unorganized, I realize that the assignment was to focus on only one part, processing skills, not the complete lesson in its entirety.  This segmentation of the lesson made the focus greater, for me as the teacher in the writing of the lesson, but I felt may have been somewhat confusing for the peer student in the rehearsal.  There are more components to this lesson (demonstrating, questioning, journaling, evaluating) that will come out as it progresses throughout the remainder of this class, thus making the lesson clear and cohesive for both teacher and student.

I do find value in delivering lessons, whether complete or partial, to peers for evaluation.  I think that any practical rehearsal that I can involve myself in, will only benefit me in the end.   I value the feedback, support, and understanding that my peers can offer.  If the end goal is to teach; teach well and thoroughly, to engage students and explore with them as they develop questions, theories, collect evidence and evaluate their knowledge, then feedback on my performance as a teacher is essential.  I know that I need to work on clear and concise delivery.   I believe this will come with time and the full conveyance of the whole lesson.  This exercise, however, focusing on only process skills has helped to deeper my understanding that each part of a lesson plan is vital to the success of the students understanding and application of knowledge.  No one part should the only focus; there must be cohesiveness to each part of a lesson for student success to be attained.