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I will use rubric as a guide for the process as well as a tool for assessment. It would be great to have the students participate in building it, but I don't have experience with this yet and not sure how it'd go. We will review the rubric at each step along the way to help the students breaking the tasks down to better manage them. Besides, I'm thinking about trying to not use numbers but worded levels as final marks (for example: "need improvements", "meeting expectations", "exceeding expectations"...). Also, peer and adult reviews as suggested would be a great way for the students both as help but also to share their work. Lastly, I'd like to find ways to encourage students to see their improvements along the process, and not just the final products as the assessment for their learning.
From my limited experience with inquiry-based activities, these are the challenges I've faced and still struggle with:
- Challenges in leading: + Time: These activities require longer time, especially for my students who are new to this style of learning, and also seem to have difficulties focusing; + Lack of confidence from the students to take up their own learning, as they often expect to be given the right answers; + Keeping up the enthusiasm; + Me trying not to interfere too much in student's process: For me this may relate to my own lack of confidence, as I suspect that driving their learning towards my ideas would be less scary to me...
- Challenges in assessing: + Again, with students new to this style of learning, providing formative assessment takes a lot of time and seem to work better 1-on-1. But from my own education, I understand the value of providing feedback before students submit their final work. So I'd like to continue this practice, and would like to know if anyone else has suggestions for how I can improve it (besides the use of rubrics). + With open-end projects like these, does anyone have suggestions for preventing plagiarism?
- I looked at Project BudBurst - data on plant phenology
- The database is accessible to anyone, including people who have not participated in the project and students.
- My students can use this data to investigate how the timing of key events in plant life have changed (or not) over the years, whether different plants are affected differently,....
- To encourage curiosity and questions, I take students outside as much as possible. Having a journal and plenty of time are also helpful. School gardens as an informal learning setting is very conducive to this.
- I still have a lot to improve on my skills to inspire deeper observational and experimental questions. So far, I often avoid giving them the answers, but asking further questions to their questions instead. Some students find this uncomfortable at first, but with the encouragement, they do respond to this kind of approach eventually. Another way is simply asking students to pose questions about something we come across in the garden.
Thanks for sharing! I really like the idea of asking students to consider what's still missing. I think that not only does it make them think deeper, it'll help them realize how answers to one question can lead to other questions, and that's how science is practiced.
- I tried eBirds
- Challenges: Identification, quality of binoculars.
- Learning outcomes: this will help my students pay more attention to their environment, learning to identify birds will definitely helps them create the habit of careful observations, and watching birds will help stimulate questions that can be further explored.
- Other notes: Even though I have difficulties with bird identification, I do have concerns about bird ID apps, as I feel that I don't learn as much with ID apps in generals. My other concerns (for other projects as well) is the need for mobile phones (to take pictures, submit data, take location). My students might not have access to smartphones, and there might be concerns with privacy. I found the setup for Globe at Night web submission simple and accessible. It's nice to find some projects that accept data from anywhere in the world, but a lot of the ones I'm interested in (plants, phenology, weather, insects...) are specific to North America. I'd appreciate if anyone has suggestions about doing CS outside of North America.
T0 be catalysts for students to observe and wonder, we can:
- Take them outside, where there are a lot of things to observe and ask questions about
- Create a safe environment for asking questions
- Model by being curious and asking questions ourselves, being a co-learner, willing to say "I don't know"....
- Guide students to help them be familiar with asking open-ended questions, in order to further the discussion and inquiry process.
- Creating the sound map, I realized there were many more sounds around me than I expected. Working at home, I often notice sounds from nature, but didn't think there are so many I can hear in 10min.
- Another thing I noticed is the process: First when I closed my eyes, there were many sounds at the same time, and I had to slowly go through to guess what they are, trying to remember them in case they don't come back again. Then there was repetition of certain sounds, like the cicadas, and wind, and cars. And lastly, keeping background sounds in check, I looked out for new sounds. It's quite a fun activity!
- Another thing I find interesting is there was a rattling sound that I can't recognize, I think it's from some insect, and I'm very curious to know what it can be.
- I think the focusing of only 1 sense at a time could help children to observe better. Also, the time should be long enough for them to recognize things and patterns, but I wonder if there should be a maximum... For me, the longer I sit, the more I get into it, but children might get bored. Or not. It'll be interesting to find out!
- Here's my Sound Map:
Because I mainly work with young students in the gardens, where anything can spring up anytime, I think the "Early bird club" and the "Wonder board" are practices that will be useful for promoting observations and posing questions among students. Also, inquiry-based and citizen science learning is local-based, with readily available materials, and can be done without expensive laboratory settings, so it'll be great for public schools with limited resources in our city.
I wish to practice more all 3 of these points in my teachings, especially the "framing the work globally and locally". Because what we do individually can have effects on many other things, putting things in perspective will help students being more responsible. On the flip side, showing them that there are things we can do at the local level that help solve global issues will be very empowering, help them to be pro-active as well as to learn beyond reciting given knowledge. To model this in my teaching, for every activity we have in the garden, I would have a part maybe called "Seeing the big picture" and ask students to discuss together how the activity can have affects on other living things beyond our immediate surrounding. Also, we can discuss about how these activities can help address global issues that they are learning in class, or are in the news these days (air pollution is a big issue often talked about in our city, for example).
I haven't done any citizen-science project with students. Reading about the projects mentioned in this lesson, I'm excited to see that some are available for locations outside of North America. Also, they are relevant to my work with the students in the garden, as part of the gardening involves observations and recording data about local weather, blooming time, birds and insects.... The tools and resources they provide will be very useful for my planning of gardening activities.
- My main work involves helping students to take care of the school garden, as an after school activity and not formal science teaching. However, there are plenty of opportunities for observations and discoveries when the students are outside interacting with plants and animals. For example, one time we saw a praying mantis on the tree trunk, and each one can give a guess about what it's doing there. Later we saw a mass next to it, and trying to guess what the mantis was doing with it. Some said it was eating it, some said it was pooping, some said it was laying eggs. We went on to think of ways to find out what the mass is. This is a very simple activity, and I would say this is in the range of guided inquiry, as the students were supplied with the question of: "What is the mantis doing?"
- The practices the students develop are: observations, hypothesize, devise ways to test hypotheses.
- I can modify lessons like this by having the students come up with their own questions ("I wonder..." questions), and together decide to choose which one to pursuit. This would support the science practice of posing questions and communication.
- The lessons everyone has described below are all very interesting, and I will try to keep them in mind so I can use the ideas once the opportunities come up in the garden. Because my 'lessons' are very spontaneous, I'm just wondering if anyone has suggestions about how I can go about helping the students to pursuit their investigations further/deeper.
My definition of Inquiry: Inquiry is a process used by active, lifelong learners to understand the world, using knowledge, skills, and creativity. It is individualized, and natural in children, but can be nurtured and sharpened. It starts out in curiosity with questions about some observation that doesn’t fit in one’s expectations. Through prior knowledge (our own and others’), we come up with a hypothesis, devise ways to test it, collect and interpret data. Incorporating discussions with others, we broaden our understanding and reflect to raise new questions, thus continuing another cycle of the process, deepening our interactions with the subject. The role of teachers is to be a facilitator that guides students through their own inquiry process. Inquiry Concept map: And this is the "Before (reading)" concept map, for comparison:
Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)