Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Biomes and Climate - Section 2: Warm Up


I am a firm believer that you must always make content relevant to students' lives and interests if you want them to care about learning it.  Because of this, I often ask students to provide information from their personal experience or other prior knowledge as a way of priming interest for a lecture or activity.

This strategy is shown in detail in the video footage from the Los Angeles Climatograph lesson, but it's a strategy that I almost always employ, though not necessarily for such a long time as shown in the video.  Often, it's just a simple question like, "Who here has been up to the mountains in winter?  What's it like compared to down here in the city at the same time?"  

Interestingly, a lot of the prior knowledge students have to offer comes from watching documentaries and videos.  It's amazing how excited students can become when discussing something they watched on TV.  Although this lesson does include students watching a documentary, it's not something I do too often in class because of perceived time constraints (I teach 2 hour blocks, so it's sometimes hard to incorporate a video the way I could for a single class period when I taught on a more traditional, one hour period per day schedule).  That being said, documentaries can be excellent means of reviewing or enriching content covered in class, so even if you don't take the time to show them in class, it might be good to ask students to offer some of the things they've learned from documentaries into the discussion whenever a connection to prior knowledge is being sought.    

  on the importance of using prior knowledge as a foundation for new learning
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: on the importance of using prior knowledge as a foundation for new learning
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Biomes and Climate

Unit 5: Biomes
Lesson 4 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to describe the climatic effects of changing latitude, altitude, and seasons and explain why these climatic changes occur.

Big Idea: The abiotic and biotic conditions of a biome are influenced by latitude, altitude and seasonal changes.

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Science, biome
  96 minutes
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