Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Day Two of Plaid Pete Gets Decomposed! - Section 4: Instruction


What is teaching with a discrepant event?  It is designing a lesson so that a student experiences an event that is contrary to what they would expect to happen.  This type of strategy sets up a "disequilibrium" in students so that they are motivated to search for answers and to confront misconceptions.  There is strong research to support the strategy of teaching with discrepant events.

Just as important as the event itself, is the discussion about the event and the opportunity for students to engage in a "sense making" process.  They need opportunities to ask questions, build upon one another's ideas, and explore each other's thinking.  

In this example, students did not expect to find that half of the producer cards had been removed, resulting in a serious difficulty in procuring enough "food chains" to win the game. This discrepant event and subsequent discussion, resulted in students developing a better understanding of the importance of plants in an ecosystem.  

The website Teaching Science With Discrepant Events has additional information for using this strategy, as well as suggestions for lesson design.

  Teaching with Discrepant Events
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Teaching with Discrepant Events
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Day Two of Plaid Pete Gets Decomposed!

Unit 2: Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems
Lesson 14 of 20

Objective: SWBAT describe the conditions necessary for a healthy ecosystem.

Big Idea: What conditions are necessary for a healthy ecosystem? How does change affect a given ecosystem? Students experience a "discrepant event" and learn just how delicate the balance in nature truly is.

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2015 02 05 09 30 49
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