I begin the lesson by reminding the students that I want them to watch the following video while keeping their own educational experience in mind.
This TED talk, Sugra Mitra's new experiments in self-teaching, describes his experiments of how students are able to teach themselves, along with his plan for the future of schools.
For the next few days, students construct a 5 paragraph argumentative essay, which states their position on the question, "Are today's schools obsolete?" They use their own experiences as evidence to support their claim.
I worked with the ELA teacher to adapt one of her rubrics so the students are using familiar expectations (Argumentative Essay Rubric). The problem I encountered is that sometimes ELA goals and science goals don't always match. I ended up altering the rubric to better match what I was looking for, which was more of a claim-evidence-reasoning format (Essay Rubric (Simplified).
I remind students that, while it is important to be honest, I do not want this to turn into a teacher bashing. I remind them that there is no wrong answer and they do not need to agree with the message of the opening TED talk. Finally, I let them know that I am planning on sharing their thoughts with the school administration as I feel that it is important for students to have an authentic audience, especially when addressing a topic such as this.