About the Tracing Inquiry Through PBL category

In star 2.05 you rewrote one of your current lessons to be inductive. Take some time here to think about how you could use the tools and techniques employed in the water quality lesson you just watched to make your inductive lesson even more inquiry focused. What would you change, add to, or iterate on in your previous lesson?

Create a new topic in this discourse category and share how you would improve your lesson from 2.05 and comment on two other colleagues’ lesson plans. Are there additional tools or techniques that could be employed to increase the inquiry for the lesson?

I appreciated the process by which the class collectively generated their research question (which corrosive inhibitor is best?) by being immersed in a problem (the Flint water crisis), generating a series of questions, classifying those questions (as open v closed, as easily answerable v requiring effort to answer, as requiring scientific inquiry v not), and looking at overall patterns to identify a question of focus. In my lesson on transformations, rather than immediately asking students to classify the types of character moves they see in video games, I would employ this approach to engage them in the generation of questions, leading to the identification of a question that would address the mathematical content of transformations.

One thing this teacher did a great job at is motivating the question and getting student interested/attached to the problem they are solving, by choosing a topic student could get emotionally attached to, forming the questions in a way that makes the students feel like they are in charge, and by having an end goal that goes beyond the classroom setting with a potential to help people in the real world.

I think to supplement the random variable lesson we developed back in 2.05, what’s missing is a tangible and impactful goal/question. What would make this better could be some sort of real life scenario where random variables are useful (for example, stock market, or by studying the games in a casino and thinking through whether players are, and in what sense they are, doomed.) We could also borrow this teacher’s practice of brining in guest lecturers who are experts in the areas of focus for students to get a more contextualized perspective on the materials they are learning.

After watching the video, I would adjust my lesson to pull in the idea that the students should generate the question. If I am trying to have them examine the writing process, perhaps they can explore what works best for them within their own writing process. I could expand the examples and together we could find more and study how others write. I really liked the idea of pulling in experts for this. I think that would be interesting for them to have an opportunity to talk with others about writing in general and how that process is handled. Having them look at it from a large standpoint and then to narrow it into something that works best for them would assist for future writings.

I also really liked the idea of finding experts. It wouldn’t be difficult to ask people to even come in via video or to find a few experts. It does certainly raise the bar for what students are doing.

I also liked the idea of having them develop a question first as both an engagement tool and a guiding post. It would work well for your plan.

I think the Mystery Activity this teacher uses with the “I see, I think, I wonder” would be a great addition to my Sci-Fi lesson. I could do a gallery walk as a launch activity with screenshots from the Star Trek episode (and possibly other famous sci-fi examples that the students would be familiar with) and have students complete the thinking exercise. They could first jot down what they notice about the sci-fi images and then collect that information into what they think the characteristics might be. This could then lead into the lesson as previously planned where they are able to see the entire example of the episode and apply their characteristics to see if they are accurate.

I love the idea of having students analyze their own writing process. Self reflection and revision are such important life skills and I think they could really learn a seeing writing as an active process that they can adapt and change.

I really enjoyed viewing the video presented in this section. The lesson as taught certainly seemed more engaging and important to the students than merely presenting the information in a theoretical context. When I overhear students discussing what they are enjoying most from other classes, it is often project-based work that is rooted in something tangible and impactful.

Looking back on the lesson I described before, additionally time spent discussing and expanding on the “why” aspect of the debate process would encourage inquiry. I do worry that students get caught up in the process of rules/procedures and lose the bigger picture. I do my best to center the “why debate matters” at various points in the semester, but focusing on it earlier and requiring students to generate the discussion points would improve the quality of the lesson. Additionally, reaching out to other individuals in the community whose work or passion focuses on research/argumentation/justification could certainly enliven the lesson.

Anything that adds a bit of drama or suspense certainly seems to help with engagement — I could see students really enjoying this lesson.

I really like the idea of bringing in casino games. So much of youth popular culture involves a bit of “gambling” (online gaming, the social media “algorithm,” sports betting). Outlining the reality behind these processes could be really illuminating.