Reflection: Motion of the Ocean (Part 1/2) - Section 3: Explore and Explain


Not all lessons result in the mastery of the learning objectives by students. Gasp! Students didn't quite understand how to analyze acceleration data the first time? No! A dangerous assumption in teaching is that just because we design and present amazing experiences of the content, students will understand it. There are a couple of ways to avoid this assumption:

1) Know your students and your content. Over the course of time, experienced teachers learn which concepts stick the first time and which concepts need routinized practice, multiple presentations in different modalities, repetition and reteaching. Newer teachers can speed up the process of learning which concepts are sticky and which concepts are slippery by researching common alternate or misconceptions in science. There are great resources available. An internet search or bookstore search of "science misconceptions yields many books and articles on the subject.

2) Mindful lesson planning using backward design suggests we identify standards and learning objectives before we decide upon which activities and assessments to use. When identifying learning objectives, it may be necessary to also plan the activity and assessment to match the degree to which we think we can teach it. For example, for a difficult concept like acceleration, the concept will need more than one activity, strategy or approach to promote mastery. As long as we know in advance that we expect our learning outcome to be somewhere short of mastery, we don't end up disappointed when students don't learn it the first time.

3) Using formative assessment during the teaching process can help us gauge the level of learning taking place. Assessments are supposed to inform instruction. When students don't learn the concept, the attitude that they haven't learned it "yet" goes a long way. If assessment tells us they haven't learned it yet, we need to find the time and reteach, relearn and reassess - even though we spent so much time creating the first great lesson.

  Teaching for Mastery vs. Teaching for Exposure
  Teaching for Mastery vs. Teaching for Exposure
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Motion of the Ocean (Part 1/2)

Unit 5: Forces and Motion
Lesson 6 of 18

Objective: SWBAT describe the motion of objects in different ways.

Big Idea: What does it mean to move? Students use diagrams, calculations and graphs and data tables to explore motion of objects.

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