Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Spaceship Earth: Concept evaluation (4 of 5) - Section 3: Understanding human colonization


Developing assignments that help students engage in deeper learning activities requires an enormous amount of planning and due diligence.  Resources should not lend themselves to simple answers.  Guiding questions should require that students engage with multiple sources to develop responses.  Content should be engaging enough that students want to talk about it with each other without teacher intervention.  Previous student work samples should also be a part of available research resource so that students see their own work as legitimate research resources.  My basic rule is that if I can find an answer to a question using a search engine, it is not a good question.  This is why my guiding questions ask students to interpret human colonization of Earth through the lens of provided resources, rather than simply asking students to conduct research to answer the question.  

Of course, many students will "opt out" as quickly as possible.  One resource has a good enough answer and suddenly students are "done."  To combat this impulse, I will facilitate conversations between students that have developed opposing positions in an effort to spark interest in diving deeper.  I will also often add exceptional student responses to resources lists in real time in order to encourage other students to develop work that will be publicly recognized as "scholarly."  I wish that there were a no magic bullet here, but there is not.  With repeated exposure and impactful scaffolding and modeling, students gradually become more skilled at diving deep.  Many even enjoy the process and lose the "snorkel" forever.

  Supporting the deep dive
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Supporting the deep dive
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Spaceship Earth: Concept evaluation (4 of 5)

Unit 2: Citizen science, Student design
Lesson 6 of 13

Objective: Students will be able to: 1) describe a consequence of the human colonization of Earth; 2) select evidence that will support a claim about potential resource management strategies; and 3) define the subtasks required to complete complex tasks.

Big Idea: The concept of Spaceship Earth can be used as an analytic framework that has wide ranging implications for humans' approach to management of the Earth. How might we develop management strategies that minimize the influence of human colonization of Earth?

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Science, Statistics, field work, Community Mapping, engineering design thinking
  55 minutes
graphic spaceship
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