Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Geosphere: Plate Tectonics - Section 3: Explore


During today's lesson, I could have just shown students a couple videos and asked them to take notes on their own. But this lesson format could have a few shortcomings. Sometimes students...

  • need more than one pathway to learning
  • fall behind when watching a video and taking notes
  • need help with deciding which information is most important
  • struggle with connecting new information with prior understandings

To make sure this lesson accommodates the instructional needs of all students, the class creates a poster, watches a video, looks a pictures, participates in conversations, and takes notes. I "glue" all of these components together by pausing the video frequently, providing teacher guidance, and calling attention to key information. 

This is what I call "layered instruction." Often times, students miss important information during instruction or perhaps they don't understand the information as it is communicated in the video.

However, if students watch Bill Nye's demonstration on plate tectonics, create a poster with notes on plate tectonics, hear their teacher explain plate tectonics using different words, have multiple opportunities to discuss, and see pictures that have to do with plate tectonics, their instruction becomes layered and more well-rounded. This ultimately leads to a deeper understanding. However, it is up to the teacher to show students how all of these components are connected. 

  Layered Instruction
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Layered Instruction
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Geosphere: Plate Tectonics

Unit 3: Earth Systems
Lesson 4 of 16

Objective: SWBAT use a map to explain plate tectonics and how the Earth's systems interact at plate boundaries.

Big Idea: In this lesson, students explore the plate tectonics theory by watching a video and taking notes. Then, students examine how the Earth's systems (spheres) interact when plates collide.

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