Reflection: Rigor Does McDonalds Have a Farm? (1 of 2) - Section 2: ENGAGE: Guiding Questions


Students would ideally develop their own high-level, discipline appropriate questions for all learning activities.  This kind of student behavior is increasingly viewed as a sign of rigorous, highly effective classrooms.  However, this is not a realistic expectation because students do not always have the metacognitive expertise to ask questions that are appropriate for learning tasks.  The ability to think like an environmental scientist requires a sophisticated understanding of concepts and skills.  As such, in this lesson, students choose from predetermined essential questions; the metacognitive work has already been done.  For teachers, the pedogigical intent is for students to efficiently engage with core concpets without unnecessarily wandering down dead-ends. While deeper learning is always a valuable goal, it is not always attainable given time constraints.  Moreover, as a wealth of education research demonstrates, expecting students to act as experts without modeling is irresponsible pedagogy.  The pattern recognitition, vocabulary, and conceptual complexity of content mastery emerges over time and follows predictable developmental stages.  Students that start at the end stage are far less likely acquire the skills and conceptual understanding required to become proficient. 

  When should students develop their own questions?
  Rigor: When should students develop their own questions?
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Does McDonalds Have a Farm? (1 of 2)

Unit 5: Food (biosphere and geosphere)
Lesson 11 of 24

Objective: Students will be able to 1) reflect on the connections between agriculture and ecosystems; 2) describe the health, environmental, social, and economic impacts of agriculture; 3) work independently and collaboratively to develop an evidence-based answer to a personalized guiding question.

Big Idea: Much of what we eat comes from a “food industrial complex.” How might we define the costs and benefits of this system through comparison of agricultural techniques?

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  55 minutes
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