Reflection: Rigor ENRICHMENT: Tide Pool Observations - Section 4: Reflecting on a trip to the ocean


Looking at two examples of completed tide pool inventories, one clearly below grade level and the other only slightly better (perhaps due to a bit more attention to detail in the illustrations), it doesn't look like the lesson was much of a success.  After all, both of these examples are lacking scientific names (and thereby ostensibly failing to meet the content-specific academic vocabulary standard) and neither have a very accurate map of their pool (which was the connection to the math standard on making measurements).    

Part of this is due to an unforeseen limitation of the site itself.  I hadn't been to Abalone cove before this trip and did not realize that the tide pools in the section of the beach we were exploring tended to be without clear borders the way they might be in other areas like the tide pool seen in this photo.  

On the other hand, I don't want to let my students off too easy.  They both clearly could have put more work into the assignment.  However, I must ask if the field trip was a failure because students failed to invest sufficient energy into the "assignment" part of it.  I would argue that it was not.  By reading the reflection of one of my ELL students, it's clear that he enjoyed a chance to experience a day away from the cacophony of quotidian distractions surrounding him in his inner-city neighborhood.  If broadening the horizons of our students is one of the main goals of educators, how could this not be considered a success, albeit a partial one?  

Yes, I could have added more rigor to this assignment and probably would have gotten better results, but it was a single assignment in the penultimate week of school when most students had graduation in mind.  In that sense, this assignment was more like an exit ticket than a project, so it was the journey itself that was the real point of the lesson.

Like I discuss in the "Walk through the Chaparral" lesson, the real intent of these lessons is to expose students from urban areas to natural settings that many have never visited before.  After all, although the Sierra Club's ICO stands for "Inspiring Connections Outdoors", it only recently replaced "Inner-City Outings" and is still mainly focused on bringing students from urban, underprivileged areas out into natural settings.  

I firmly believe that students won't care about the environment because they're told they should.  Students need to experience nature firsthand, to truly feel it before they'll be motivated to care for it personally and be willing to take action and make choices based on that authentic, personal concern.

  a lack of rigor?
  Rigor: a lack of rigor?
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ENRICHMENT: Tide Pool Observations

Unit 6: Biodiversity
Lesson 9 of 9

Objective: Students will be able to survey the biodiversity in a single marine tidepool and compare and contrast the tidepool community to the community of organisms they commonly encounter in an urban ecosystem.

Big Idea: Areas with ecosystem diversity offer exciting learning opportunities for students.

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jenny measure
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