Reflection: Joy Coastal & Inland Temperatures - Section 5: Discussion & Rubric


I've thought a lot about the ideas of students creating materials before learning about them, which I first discovered when I taught math for a few months one of my first years teaching. In 6th grade math, we were using manipulatives to represent algebraic expressions, and we were left with a lesson planning problem - how do we order the manipulatives? Do we have students use them and then apply the knowledge, or do we give them the knowledge first and then cement it with the manipulatives. We know both would be relevant and important to do, but we (my co-teacher and I) initially struggled with the how of it all. So I did some research, and found an interesting article that posited that this completely depends on the type of student you have.

Generally, the summative parts of the research article (I would love to link to it here, but can no longer find it - e-mail me if you know the article I'm talking about!) indicated that advanced students benefit more when they're given the content at the "back end" as they have the mental schema to be able to independently connect abstract content to physical tools in front of them. Students who struggle usually benefitted from the ordered way of learning the content, building a mental framework, and then applying it through manipulative usage. I've always found this interesting and how it relates to science, and it's one of the reasons I like this lesson so much. There's actually not a whole lot of why in this lesson, but that big reveal all comes later. Today, they do all the creation and data scrubbing so that their brains are primed for conceptual buildup later. In effect, they're creating their own learning tool today, and using it to drive the concept home in future lessons!

  Creating Before Learning
  Joy: Creating Before Learning
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Coastal & Inland Temperatures

Unit 6: Climate & Human Impact
Lesson 2 of 9

Objective: SWBAT create a graph and determine the relationship and cause between continental and coastal climactic changes

Big Idea: Students plot out and analyze several graphs that describe some annual temperature trends between inland and coastal locations.

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