Reflection: Coherence Force and Motion Essential Questions - Section 2: Explore/Explain/Extend


To help students "connect the dots" between concepts or between learning objectives and essential questions, it often necessary to explicitly "point out" the connections. I literally use the cue, "Let's connect the dots" as a segue to a discussion about how all the pieces of instruction are part of a coherent whole. At first, students need lots of support to understand the connections. I might even show them a diagram like this one, so they understand the metaphor:

I refer to the numbered dots as different instructional activities, concepts or even our essential questions. Together, I ask very pointed questions to start making the connections concrete. Examples of these questions are:

How did our __________________ lab relate to our _________________ reading.

This warm up questions is like what other activity we have done?

Why might we learn about this topic next?

What do we need to know in order to understand this concept?

As students become more savvy at recognizing similarities and seeing the links between seemingly disparate pieces, the conversations start to flow more naturally. By the end of a year of "pointing it out", students are able to connect the dots themselves!

  Helping Students Connect the Dots
  Coherence: Helping Students Connect the Dots
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Force and Motion Essential Questions

Unit 5: Forces and Motion
Lesson 18 of 18

Objective: SWBAT make connections between unifying ideas of science, their life experiences and investigations conducted about forces and motion.

Big Idea: Where do Newton's Laws show up in our daily lives? Can knowledge of these laws help us make decisions? Students explore these ideas!

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