Science 9 – Despite the difficulties I have in getting students in grade 9 engaged, there are some days that are winners. In the past, I would spend 15 minutes in front of the class and show them the rules for naming compounds and writing formulas for compounds. This year I asked the students to find the patterns themselves. They see this as a challenge and worked really hard on the task. When done, the students put their results on whiteboards and we went over the rules.
The Cognitive Load Theorists out there would likely poo-pooh the lesson. This was one of those “discovery” type lessons, albeit with a fairly generous entry point. And in the end we summarized the rules on paper which could have been done at the very start. However, CLT has nothing to say about motivation or engagement, and there is a big difference between having 30 kids mindlessly blasting through some worksheet/textbook type questions, compared to having 30 kids hunched over desks, participating in science discussions with their eyes wide open and focused on the task.