Reflection: Coherence Mixtures: Characteristic Properties - Phase Change (day 2) - Section 4: Understand and Describe the Problem


One practice that I started using a few years ago that I have found powerful is the use of lesson models and templates in unit planning. Recently, my school has decided to embrace the concept of lesson models to help teachers with lesson design. I have mixed feelings about it as a school wide practice, but love it as an individual practice.

What this meant for me was recognizing that there are certain lesson designs I repeat again and again.  

Discovery - To engage students in a topic.

Pre-requisite - To pull out prior information and learn basic vocabulary.

Direct Instruction - To use gradual release to introduce students to a practice or skill they can use to understand content.

Follow-up - To let students get deeper into content.

Problem Solving - To allow students to use their new content knowledge in a transfer situation.

Assess - To find out what students learned.

Reteach and Extend - to put into place interventions and extensions for students in this content.

By repeating basic lesson designs I am able to 

  • Save myself the cognitive load of inventing these designs every time.
  • Use templates that follow the design for easy planning.
  • Allow students to understand the types of norms we will follow during each lesson type. 

Also, using unit and lesson templates ensures that I don't forget to pre-assess or introduce vocabulary in my excitement to get to a lab.

This lesson is a problem solving model. The purpose behind the design is for students to get a chance to use their content knowledge in "authentic-ish" situations. This design is all about teacher intention. I could easily do this same lesson as a discovery or guided lab, but I'm trying to get the students to do the problem-solving. To do this I use the four steps that Hattie calls out as important in his book Visible Learning:

  1. Understand the problem.
  2. Obtain a plan.
  3. Carry out the plan.
  4. Evaluate the solution.

Each step is important and deserves it's own time in class. While there are some problem-solving lessons that can easily be done in one day, many of my lessons run two days. One day to do the planning and one to do that activity and evaluation. Don't forget or leave off te evaluation section. Not only is it a great time to connect students with the grading through self and peer assessment, but it also allows for the meta-cognition on whether their plan worked and what they would do next time.  

  Lesson Design- Models
  Coherence: Lesson Design- Models
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Mixtures: Characteristic Properties - Phase Change (day 2)

Unit 8: Mixtures: Characteristic Properties
Lesson 9 of 11

Objective: Students will be able to determine the boiling point of water and graph their observation.

Big Idea: When a substance boils, it's temperature plateaus as it changes form.

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1 teacher likes this lesson
Science, density, solids, liquid, gas, mixture, property
  55 minutes
boiling water
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