Revamping a Lesson with Newly Informed Eyes

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Reflection is important for all educators. As we reflect on our previous lessons we need to keep an open mind and be vulnerable with feedback. To have a growth-set mindset, means that we are often reviewing and revamping our lessons for the following years to better meet the needs of our 21st century learners. The lesson that I recently revamped covered the following NGSS standards:

  • 5-ESS2-1 Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere interact.
  • 5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect Earth’s resources and environment.

The first go around of the lesson that I delivered included a hook, collaboration, and assessment. Students were engaged and showed their creativity, yet the assessment did not show that students mastered both Next Generation Science Standards.

Hook: I showed students an image of Trash Island and had them hashtag the image. Student were not given context behind the image or even told what it was, they were just asked to look at the picture and give it a hashtag. Students wrote their hashtags on sticky notes and put them on the Smarboard around the picture. Students followed up with activity by reading an article about Trash Island.

Collaboration: In groups of 4 (each student was assigned a role) students charted out the impact of trash island on each of the four spheres (Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere, and Atmosphere). Students did a gallery walk of each other’s charts to compare and contrast their findings. As the teacher I used this to determine students understanding of each of the spheres.

Assessment: Students worked with a partner to create an invention that would clean up trash island. Students had to share the pros and cons of their invention. Students also had to explain how their invention had an impact on each of the different spheres. Students often found that their invention would improve one sphere but make another sphere worse (ei. clean up the water but kill the fish).

Revamp: After speaking with colleagues (classmates) I have decided that this assignment would better meet 21st century learners if it was more relevant to students. Trash Island is fascinating, but so it is almost too unimaginable for students to relate. If I can find closer disasters that are caused by human impact, students will be able to better engage with the project. For my location, I would have students look into the wildfires and the impact humans have on wildfires. I would also have students critique current inventions/ideas to decrease wildfires instead of creating their own. It is more important to address the standards that students can critique and analyze versus their ability to innovate.

Overall, reflection will only benefit me as an educator. This time of reflection was beyond important for me to see how to better meet the needs of 21st century sudents.

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