Reflection: Checks for Understanding Human Impact on Biodiversity - Section 1: Warm-up


After many years in the classroom, I have come to the conclusion that middle school students are lazy in their answers - not because they don't want to do well or don't care, but because they have never been taught how to take their thinking beyond the surface and make connections and explanations that really show what they know.  As frustrating as this can be, it helps to remember that this is not their fault.  With our rush to cover the content as more and more time is lost to district and state testing, snow days, sick days, assemblies, etc., it is easy to overlook the fact that in addition to teaching content we must teach students how to demonstrate all they know.

This is something that has taken me quite a bit of time to figure out as I watch students give mediocre presentations that just skim the surface of all they have learned, which I would be unaware of if I hadn't been talking to and questioning students as they worked on their presentations.  To compensate, I have implemented Q & A sessions following presentations which allows me to probe for deeper understanding, but this has never really solved the problem.  By modeling the type of thinking that I am looking to see in their presentations, I am hoping that students will start to improve in their ability to "show what they know" during each presentation moving forward.  See the video in the warm-up for an example of how I explain to one of my classes the idea of connecting ideas to show depth of knowledge.

  Scaffolding Depth of Thought
  Checks for Understanding: Scaffolding Depth of Thought
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Human Impact on Biodiversity

Unit 5: Biodiversity and Spiders
Lesson 9 of 9

Objective: SWBAT generate a list of methods used to maintain biodiversity and incorporate the method they feel is best into their final project.

Big Idea: Students gather information on the importance of biodiversity and what we can do to maintain it for the future.

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