Reflection: Student Ownership Comparing Energy Resources: Pros and Cons - Section 4: Gallery Walk: Students take notes from their peers' work


This lesson worked out really well because it offered an opportunity for “distributed teaching”.  I had initially planned to include a list of pros and cons with each energy resource in the powerpoint presentation for the previous lesson on energy resources.  However, as I was making that powerpoint, I realized that it was already pretty extensive and I felt like offering laundry lists of pros and cons along with all the other information might cause students to lose sight of the fact that those pros and cons do have real consequences and are relevant to decisions that are being made at the personal and policy level all the time.


By having students do their own research on the pros and cons, it not only gave them increased confidence in their ability to use information resources to create knowledge for themselves rather than simply be “receivers” of knowledge (i.e., the “banking” model of education discussed by Freire), it also allowed them to be teachers of their fellow students.  The choices they made in presenting some facts and not others and in choosing certain images to represent their resources  greatly influenced their peers’ understanding and perception of the issue at hand. 


Watching the students walk around the room eagerly filling up the blank space on the activity instructions worksheet (all the while making their own choices about which information was relevant to the larger question at hand) I saw them much more engaged in the process of information acquisition than they usually are during a lecture.  It’s not that a lecture isn’t a valuable way to cover content (I certainly use it often and have defended it in many reflections on this site), it’s just that in many cases, the nature of the content itself allows students to practice and develop other critical skills (research, synthesis, presentation, analysis, etc.) whilst learning content. 

  Distributed Teaching
  Student Ownership: Distributed Teaching
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Comparing Energy Resources: Pros and Cons

Unit 7: Energy Resources
Lesson 3 of 6

Objective: Students will be able to compare the pros and cons of various energy resources and determine which resource is the best option to both meet our future energy needs and minimize our environmental impact

Big Idea: All energy resources come with some environmental cost

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