Reflection: Grappling with Complexity CAPSTONE: Population and environment by design (1 of 2) - Section 2: DAY 1-CAPSTONE OVERVIEW: Human population presentation


Deeper learning, productive struggle, college readiness, problem based learning--these are all terms that essentially value students' ability to produce rigorous products that meet benchmarks without prescriptive guidance.  This is an idea that I deeply value as an educator; effective learners are able to learn and unlearn quickly, and develop solutions to problems in the absence of explicit models or scaffolds.  (Tony Wagner, one of the compelling voices in education that speaks passionately about this type of learning, might be a great resource for teachers considering this ideas of learning.)  Rich problems in the real world do not have prefabricated solution processes and learners that tackle these problems must be able to effectively generate processes and criteria for success.  I believe that classroom experiences that portray solution pathways as always already extant do a grave disservice to the next generation of students.  As such, as the units in my curriculum progress, the "how to" emphasis of teacher-centered classrooms slowly gives way to space for students to struggle, fail, embrace discomfort, and self-actualize.  This is a sloppy process.  Students will push back.  Teachers will feel like they do not know what to do.  But in the long run, I think that establishing goals without explicit pathways to reach goals, is a vital part of the learning process at the secondary level.

Of course, this does not mean that there are no guidelines for students to follow.  As noted in the Capstone overview, students presentations do need to meet certain requirements.  These are noted in the Capstone rubric.  However, how student groups reach these requirements is largely self-determined.  

  Why not model and scaffold?
  Grappling with Complexity: Why not model and scaffold?
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CAPSTONE: Population and environment by design (1 of 2)

Unit 4: Populations
Lesson 15 of 16

Objective: In this Capstone project, students will be able to: 1) collaborate with peers to develop a rigorous public presentation; 2) describe an area of interest where human population impacts the environment; 3) articulate the key features of the human population in the chosen area using data visualizations; 4) identify problems in an area caused by human population growth; 5) develop solutions to problems identified 6) identify the research necessary to better understand potential solutions; 7) publicly present to an audience; 8) provide rigorous feedback to presenting groups; 9) self-assess proficiency using rubrics and captured video; 10) and revise in-class presentations as standalone screencasts.

Big Idea: Human population growth impacts the environment . How might develop an engaging presentation about an area that elucidates the problems and potential solutions to problems posed by a constantly growing human population?

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