Fall 2009 Day 16

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Fall 2009-Day 17

Day 16 Topics

The Hamburger Approach to Writing
Motion Graph Exploration
Homework Week 8

Peer Instructor Reflection

Fall 2009:Day 16
Written by: Katie Kizer

Adam started off the class by having a literacy lesson. Each pair drew a picture of a hamburger. Some groups just had the meat, cheese, and buns, while other groups had all sorts of ingredients like lettuce, ketchup, tomatoes, onions, etc. Adam explained that this approach can be used when writing paragraphs. Adam assigned each group the task of writing a paragraph using the hamburger approach: “How do we see the phases of the moon?” Some groups started right away, other groups seemed flustered at such a broad question and did not know how to begin. Through prompting, the students basically came up with a paragraph that explained the following: Sun emits light in all directions. Some of that light travels in a straight line away from the sun to the moon. The moon is not a reflective object, so light bounces off of the moon in all directions. Some of that light travels to earth and into our eyes. The side of the moon facing the sun is always fully lit. The side of the moon facing away from the sun is always dark; it is in the moon’s own shadow. How much of the fully lit side we see depends upon where the moon is with respect to the earth and sun.

Today I paid particular attention to the learning styles of the students and how varied they are. At the beginning of the hamburger assignment, one student got very irritated that specific instruction was not given on EXACTLY what the objective was. Other students started by writing what they knew and when prompted, had no trouble adding to their paragraphs. Some got frustrated when prompted because they didn't know how to incorporate what they already had with other ideas about light and shadows. They automatically assumed they did not know how to connect the two without even thinking about it. By the end, each group presented their paragraphs and they all sounded excellent and cohesive. They can now add this portion of information to their moon papers. During the prompting, some groups went off on tangents and needed further explanations of the moon phases. I noticed that some students were quite receptive to the open prompts and enjoyed guessing/recalling information they had previously learned, whereas others just wanted to be told and assumed they didn't know the answers. They did not realize that talking it out would allow them to arrive at the correct answers. I think in this class, and in other life situations, you have to put yourself out there and make yourself a little vulnerable. It is okay to be wrong, but when you do get the right answers and conclusions, it feels amazing. This cannot be lectured, this must be experienced for students to get the full understanding.

With the second part of class, I went around to each group and explained the activity. Since we were a little short on time, Emily wanted me to be direct with the students about what they were going to be doing (which is different from most days when she wants the students to explore and see what they come up with on their own). I explained to the students that the objective was to play around with the motion detectors and try and figure out what types of motions create certain graphs on the computer screen. They would be drawing and presenting their findings later on. I thought it was interesting that some of the students had a stubborn, “I don't want to be doing this” attitudes, while others had “Oh! This is fun!” attitudes. I wondered if this was because of their past motion detector activity when the technology was not cooperating, or if they just anticipated not liking this subject ahead of time. As the students explored, Emily, Adam, a physics professor, and I went around to each group and prompted the students to notice certain aspects of the graphs. We had them not only notice position, but whether the changes in position were gradual or immediate. The graphs looked different in each of these scenarios. We had the groups explain what was happening at each point on the graph to get them to break each motion down. What I thought was very straightforward instruction required a lot of prompting throughout the exploration time. They presented and discussed neat findings or troublesome areas. I got to ask the students a few questions at the end which I found to be quite difficult. I had no idea what to ask.

At the end of class, students got back a diagnostic question they took on the very first day of class. They realized that their understandings have changed immensely since the beginning of the quarter. I think this shocked them to see how far they have come. Emily passed out a graphic organizer for the moon paper. I could sense relief in the students because they now had a visual of exactly what Emily's understandings were for their moon papers.

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