Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Plaid Pete Has Rocks In His Head! - Section 3: Guided Exploration

 

When I first started teaching Science - I taught my third graders from a packet of overheads that had been handed down from the teacher who had the classroom previous to me.  I couldn't understand why they hated Science.

Then, we had this new initiative promoting "inquiry science" with all of these materials and "stuff."  I was pretty excited about that - until after the first lesson.  I sat down at the back table in my classroom and wanted to cry.  I asked the teacher who was leading the initiative, "Can you take it all back?"  I am surprised she didn't start laughing.  But, she didn't laugh.  She was patient with me.  I learned.  I began to teach inquiry Science, and I learned how to manage the stuff, and the materials, and the kids.

I was so pleased with myself - I actually had students drawing the water cycle and describing the steps.  They evaporated water from dishes.  Then I had them drawing the rock cycle, and describing the steps.  I really thought they knew what was happening - that they really understood it.  But they really didn't.

Then, the Next Generation Science Standards came along.  The objectives changed.  They no longer had to simply list and describe the steps.  They didn't just have to construct a model; they now had to explain their model and support it with evidence.  They had to actually understand what the steps really meant.  I sat down at the back table in my classroom and I wanted to cry.  But I didn't.  I knew that there was a huge support network of colleagues out there waiting to show me the way - including my awesome coach and 5th Grade Team at Better Lesson.  

That's the moral of the story - there are big shoulders all around to lift us up.  We don't have to just teach our students the "steps in a process" without teaching them about the process itself.  It would be like teaching them to recite the abc's, and expect them to understand they symbolism behind Robert Frost's A Road Less Traveled.

Why is this important?  Watch this Video Clip of our future staring back at us.  I am happy to report that this was before the lesson.  She already knew the steps.  What she needed after this, was instruction to connect recitation to understanding.  

  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Reciting vs. Understanding
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Plaid Pete Has Rocks In His Head!

Unit 4: Plaid Pete is Modeling Earth's Systems
Lesson 9 of 15

Objective: SWBAT use a model to describe how the rock cycle is a result of the interaction of the geosphere and at least one other Earth System.

Big Idea: What is the rock cycle? How are Earth's Systems involved in the process? Students construct model rocks in order to understand the process of how they are formed, and the interaction of the geosphere with Earth's other systems.

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2015 04 14 14 16 09
 
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