Sunday, April 17, 2016

John Skinner 4/18 Response

At Peabody orientation, we were able to hear from a panel of local middle school and high school principals about the job application process. Many principals mentioned that during interviews, they want prospective teachers to be able to effectively convey "what rigor looks like" in their discipline and in their classroom. Given this framework, I think that the "Ambitious Science Teaching" article does a great job elaborating how processes of model construction/revision and accompanying explanation help students participate in a rigorous curriculum while allowing them to engage in the epistemic culture of science. For me, one of the most important points from this article was the importance of model revision. Students learn by creating base models and editing those models as new information becomes available--students are required to consider what needs to be represented and how those agents should be depicted. For me, it will be important to remember to allow some of this "struggle time" during class. Because these various iterations of models are so crucial to the learning progress, it is important to fight the urge to simply provide correct answers.

The video also brought up an interesting point about assigning roles in the classroom for group modeling activities. In the ecology modeling activity, Dr. Leona Schauble mentioned that different students were "specialists" for different aspects of the ponds that the students were attempting to model (for example, there was a group of student "specialists" that researched algae behavior). I thought that this was an intriguing take on group modeling projects because it allows students to study one agent in a given environment, present it to their group, and then argue for what behaviors they want to depict in their group model. This specialization allows students to engage in methods of argumentation and explanation before even constructing a model.

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