Math 8 – The above picture shows the 2nd vote (peer instruction). On the first vote the choices were evenly split between A, B, and C. Obviously we spent more time on this question. Pretty good evidence that this topic needs to be explicitly dealt with, we shouldn’t assume that kids know what the equals sign means. This vote was after I asked the class to consider the difference between 4×8 (an expression) and 4×8=32 (an equation).
Above shows the class collaborating and discussing a voting question.
In general, we had good Flow today…
Science 9 – This is a result from one group’s experiment with yeast budding. Their experimental variable was water pH, and it looks like they may have made a mistake. This turns out to be excellent for everyone because it will give the class a chance to apply reasoning to an experimental results.
E: pH 3
F: pH 5
G: pH 7
H: pH 11
If maximum gas was at pH 7, then clearly the pH 3 solution should have less gas than the pH 5. It’s hard to tell from the picture but balloon E was the 2nd fullest. A few students were able to apply CER (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning) to find this mistake.
Science 9 – Today was the start of some research and writing on assisted reproductive technologies. Specifically, I asked the students to produce a persuasive essay. The handout I gave outlined 8 questions or ethical dilemmas around assisted reproduction. Each student has to decide on a question that they will take a stance on, and write an essay on their reasoning.
I framed the persuasive essay as an assessment tool that tells me about their scientific understanding of the topic, along with getting them to use critical thinking. The students were very engaged in this activity. We went to the library to use iPads and the wireless internet for their research, and most students managed to stay on task (a bit of an accomplishment in grade 9 I think). I’ve asked the students to tell me about the technology, pretending I don’t know anything about reproduction, and then to persuade me that their stance on the issue is the correct one. Several students weren’t sure how they could use research to justify their position. I suggested that something like a Wikipedia article may not support an argument one way or the other. However, they can research newspapers or other media for opinion letters and use this for reference material.