Instructional Openings

Experience Based Lab Introductions

Experience Based Lab Introductions is a strategy I use to get students to start thinking about their prior knowledge and how it can be applied to a problem or challenge. For example, I use the story about Who Polluted the Clark Fork to set the stage for our water filter lab. The story allows students to use their knowledge-base to answer simple questions throughout the story. As the activity continues, I see students' perspectives change as more elements and variables are added to the story. The stories peak students' interest and bring a call to action into a classroom activity. This strategy is embedded in the Conceptual Change Model, where I'm trying to expose students' beliefs, confront and accommodate those beliefs, and then extend the concept to help students move beyond their misconceptions.

Strategy Resources (3)
Lesson Plan
 
 
This is the lesson I use for the Who Polluted the Clark Fork activity, where I'm trying to get students to think about their beliefs. I have adapted this lesson to include information about our local area, which is why I have changed Potomac to Clark Fork. I also included historical information about mining from our area, as well as made connections to the ranching community my students live in. This lesson is easily adaptable to any location. (Credit: Northeastern)
Teacher In Action
 
 
This is a link to a demonstration we did on waves. During Demo Wednesday's, I often ask students a lot of questions at the beginning of the demonstration about what they are observing. This questioning helps me better understand how they are approaching what they are seeing. Demo Wednesday helps bring students' experiences into the science classroom by exposing their beliefs based on their prior experiences.
Lesson Plan
 
 
This is the lesson I use for the Who Polluted the Clark Fork activity, where I'm trying to get students to think about their beliefs. I have adapted this lesson to include information about our local area, which is why I have changed Potomac to Clark Fork. I also included historical information about mining from our area, as well as made connections to the ranching community my students live in. This lesson is easily adaptable to any location. (Credit: Northeastern)
Teacher In Action
 
 
This is a link to a demonstration we did on waves. During Demo Wednesday's, I often ask students a lot of questions at the beginning of the demonstration about what they are observing. This questioning helps me better understand how they are approaching what they are seeing. Demo Wednesday helps bring students' experiences into the science classroom by exposing their beliefs based on their prior experiences.
Jessica Anderson
Powell County High School
Deer Lodge, MT


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Moderate
Subject:
Science
Grade:
Ninth grade
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Academic Culture
Classcraft

Classcraft is team-based, role-play gamification tool that I use for classroom management. It focuses students to self-manage their learning, stay on task, and positively collaborate with their peers. When students are seen positively collaborating, working hard, or helping another student, they earn "experience points" (XP), which allow them to "level-up" and gain "powers" (ability to buy privileges in class). However, if they are distracting other students, not following classroom rules, or negatively impacting the learning of themselves or peers they are deducted health points (HP). If they lose all of their HP, they "fail in battle," which means that a random student-generated consequence is then assigned to the student. The fall in battle causes each student on that individual's team to lose HP and face greater risk of also falling in battle. The sequence continues until either all teammates fall to battle or someone on the team has enough HP to survive. Besides HP, students earn 4 action points (AP) every day. Action points allow students to purchase privileges if they have "learned" a power. The AP allow students to ask the Game Master if a question is correct on a quiz, to automatically advance within a level, or to "teleport" to their locker or the bathroom. AP, HP, and XP can all be impacted by the "Daily Event." The Daily Event is a random event that impacts the game in a positive or negative manner. For instance, the event may give the person with the least experience points 200 XP in the game or it may deduct 15 HP from a random player. We never know what will happen, which is what makes the game so interesting to most students. After using the game for nearly two school years, I have seen my students interacting more positively with one another and accomplishing more in class. It has been an awesome addition to our classroom culture and very easy to implement!

 
Mindsets
Jessi's Mindsets

A blended teacher’s personal mindsets shape her  decisions as an educator. These mindsets influence general pedagogies, instructional approaches, and short-term decision making, alike. Check out how Jessi’s mindsets have helped to shape her blended instruction.

 
Instructional Planning
Jessi's Approach to Planning

Planning is an essential part of a blended teacher’s practice. In blended environments, where students can be at different points in a course on various modalities, blended teachers need to be very intentional about how they plan. Check out the video below to see how Jessi plans for instruction in her blended classroom.


 
 
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