Reflection: Student Ownership Build an Atom - Section 4: Debrief


One of the difficulties I'm encountering this school year is keeping students engaged throughout the activity debrief.  Over 40% of my students indicated on their opening day surveys that they prefer learning through PowerPoint lectures and worksheets.  They are exceptionally uncomfortable with the explore, reflect and debrief inquiry model of instruction.

There are two tactics I've taken to in trying to get students to understand the process.  The first is pointing out that the debrief is functionally their notes, the same as if we had done a PowerPoint.  It took multiple repetitions of this, but students are now becoming more careful about capturing the information at the end of the class, even if they are still struggling with it cognitively.

The second tactic has been to point out how they are learning in days what it took scientists years to figure out.  By honoring their struggle with the material, and praising the students who have pushed and given pieces of information, they are slowly beginning to own their work in the class.  While many students are still struggling mightily, they are at least willing to struggle due to this sense of ownership of their learning.

  Keeping Engagement
  Student Ownership: Keeping Engagement
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Build an Atom

Unit 1: Atomic Structure
Lesson 6 of 10

Objective: SWBAT use the properties of subatomic particles to determine the properties of an atom based upon the number of each type of particle.

Big Idea: Using computer simulations to build our understanding of the atom.

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