We are moving forward with the study of space. It is an interesting journey for me, as Ms. Wyssenbach (UKanTeach student teacher) is teaching several hours, and Mrs. Loeffler is teaching several hours. They are covering essentially the same material, but each in a different way and at a slightly different schedule. They will both be doing the same big project: design of a space colony. Mrs. L and Ms. W have a lot of exciting ideas for this project, and I look forward to helping out.
In the morning, Ms. W had the kids visualize and draw on personal-sized whiteboards. They looked at pictures, then imagined and drew them from different perspectives (e.g. a side view of a bicycle reimagined as a view from above). This drawing exercise was designed to get them beyond a 2d understanding of why the phases of the moon look like they do to us on earth. Prior to my visit, the students had done the cookie phases of the moon as described by my fellow fellow, Mark Calnon, and listened to this earwormy, moon-phase rap by Mr. Lee. As a follow-up, they also did a 3d visualization using a styrofoam ball as the moon, their head as the earth, and a lamp as the sun. One thing Ms. W did that I thought was a great idea… she had the students start the hour by drawing a picture of how they were feeling. This got them into the drawing right away, and it also helped us to gain insight as to how they were doing.
Mrs. Loeffler started the hour with a quick review of the phases of the moon and the rap again, since some of the kids were gone when they played it earlier (and they love it). Then we dove right in to the new project. We started in on a discussion of what is included in a community, and what kinds of things we might have in a community in space. The students broke into groups and made lists that they shared later (houses, free gas, internet, dogs, pigs, basketball courts, etc.).
During the earlier part of the day, Mrs. Loeffler and I got the Eisenhower clickers working, so we decided to start using them right away. We started in using the clickers to discuss what things might be “needs” versus “wants,” and of the “wants,” which ones we might really want. It was interesting to ask them things like: “Gravity… need or want?” then see how they voted and start to discuss it. Also, after hearing some of the things they had listed, I felt compelled to ask them about things like air, shelter, water, food (rule of 3’s for you camping types out there). We’ll also need to address things like pressure, temperature, radiation… all kinds of good stuff. Mrs. Loeffler is planning to weave the curriculum content into the design project, and after all of the student-centered, project-based instruction that we’ve been talking about in the GK12 seminar, I’m excited to see how this goes.