As part of my internship, we are to complete a professional development project. For my University Consultant, he has asked us to take this project one step further and perform a research project, of sorts.
My original plan for this project was to engage both my SCI 10 and CHEM 20 classes in blogging. The purpose of this activity was to break down the classroom walls and expose my students to the “real life” science, rather than the “textbook” science they typically learn. Most of the time, the Science, Technology and Society (STS) outcomes are discussed from time to time in class, at best. Personally, I find these outcomes to be crucial to student learning as this is what they are really interested; it allows students to discover the point of science.
However, as we know, plans change more often than we would probably like in education. What I realized is that the concept of blogging is a fantastic cross-curricular activity, what is ideal for a junior high environment where the students travel in packs. Using blogs in junior high allows the science and English teacher to collaborate and create a cross-curricular learning experience for the students – I would evaluate them based on their ability to provide an insightful discussion with respect to science and the English teacher could use their entries to evaluate their writing structure. This is a project I would be ecstatic to engage in with my students and a colleague at some time in my teaching career.
In high school, none of my students are in the same English class, or all taking it this semester, which makes this project more difficult. The last thing I wanted this project to become was an additional item on my students to do list, that they did because they had to. The purpose of a blog is for it to be ongoing to demonstrate learning, which would mean students would need to make a significant number of posts to fulfill the purpose of the blog.
Now – where have I taken my PD Project since realizing all of this?
Below, I have attached my thought process for my new PD Project. Obviously this is a working document that will evolve throughout the semester.
INQUIRY IN SCIENCE
To learn science through inquiry. Inquiry is essential to good science. Without curiosity we would be nowhere with science; if the vicious cycle of questions leading to failure, new questions, re-testing and so on, science would not exist.
Using the Science, Technology & Society (STS) outcomes outlined in the CHEM 20 Program of Studies, students will be exposed to a crucial aspect of science that is often neglected. It is extremely easy to become wrapped up in the knowledge and skill outcomes due to the pressures of time, however there are critical life lessons that can be learned from the STS outcomes.
Students will learn:
- Critical thinking skills and the importance of skepticism in science
- To collaborate with peers and students in other schools, regarding the benefits and detriments of scientific research
Students will be asked to look at a recent technology and discuss it’s social, political, environmental, economic and overall societal intended and unintended consequences. The idea is to give students an opportunity to connect their learning in the classroom to real life experiences, making their learning more authentic.
Students will be expected to take ownership for their own learning and demonstrate their understanding of concepts in any way that fits their learning style best.
Students will complete inquiry based projects that have them act as scientists or think about science issues in critical ways.
- Physics: Students will be designing, implementing, reporting and reflecting on their own science experiment (Performance Task document below). This project will give students an authentic learning experience with respect to the scientific method. Students will gain an appreciation for the scientific method and what goes into sound science research.
- Biology: Students will engage in an activity that asks them to think about the ethical, environmental, societal, political, technological and economic effects of their actions. Students will be challenged to see real world science and relate them back to science, technology and society.
- Chemistry: Still in the planning phase – any suggestions are definitely welcome!
Until next time,