Category Archives: MYP

“Levels of Why?” Graphic Organizer

Levels-of-Why

Levels of Why – click to download a pdf

This is a graphic organiser developed to help students move from outline or describe into explain.

  1. Begin with stating the situation, change or process.
  2. What is the surface explanation or reason?
  3. Why does that occur?
  4. What about that?

And so on…

A worked example is on this page.

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Data Literacy with ‘Explore’ in GoogleSheets

Super-quick lesson idea for teaching datasets and presentation types. When processing data in Google Sheets, use the ‘Explore’ feature, highlighting parts of the dataset. Click here for an example (to save a copy, go to ‘file –> make a copy’)

For: Sciences, Maths

Thanks to Liz Durkin (@lizdk) for the reminder of this feature.

Questions to ask students

  • What are different types of data (continuous, discontinuous)
  • Why do we use graphical presentations of data?
  • What information do we need to be able to present data clearly?
  • Why are some data presentations suitable for some sets of data and not others?
  • How are the ‘basic’ presentations of data limited? (or Why can’t I use a bar chart for everything?).
  • How does my interpretation of the data change when I change the graph or chart type?

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-16-49-49Explore in GoogleSheets – a quick way to visualize some of the data collected in an experiment or survey, and an opportunity to teach some data literacy and critical thinking skills. Click to open.

Going Further: Here is a set of resources for more advanced data presentation and statistics, used for IBBio, but useful for more: IBBio Statbook by Stephen Taylor. This one is for MYP Chemistry.

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MYP ATL Skills

Information Literacy
Collect, record and verify data
Present information in a variety of formats and platforms
Process data and report results
Understand and use technology systems
Critical Thinking
Interpret data

NGSS Connections

Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.
Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.

 

GoogleEarth Engine Timelapse: Quick Lesson Plan

Here’s a quick lesson plan idea for tuning into inquiry using Google Earth Engine Timelapse*. It can provide a timelapse of change from 1984-present, based on satellite and aerial photos. 

Context

Ideal for: Individuals & Societies, Sciences, Interdisciplinary Unit

Global Context(s): Fairness & Development or Globalization & Sustainability

Key Concept(s): Change, Development, Interactions, Time-Place-Space

Related Concepts (I&S): Globalization, growth, resources, sustainability, causality

Related Concepts (Sciences): Environment, transformation, consequence, evidence

Tuning In

Find where we live and model See-Think-Wonder (Project Zero) on the timelapse from 1984-now. You might want to create a GoogleSheet with columns for each stage, to be shared with the class. Alternatively, get out some big whiteboards or butcher paper.

  • See: look for general outlines, specific landmarks, big developments, interesting changes. Then dig deeper – compare the start to the end, or look for evidence of significant events in the time period. Keep pushing the ‘see’ until ideas are truly exhausted.
  • Think: connected to the ‘see’ statements, note potential cause-effect relationships, sequences, consequences or other ideas. Keep going until this is exhausted.
  • Wonder: finally build on the ‘see’ and ‘think’. What questions does this generate? Categorize and rank the questions.

Finding Out

  • What lines of inquiry will you take to find out more?
  • What can be found out by students and what needs to be explicitly taught?
  • What unit-related vocabulary needs to be used and taught?

Approaches to Learning

Information Literacy

  • Access information to be informed and inform others
  • Make connections between various sources of information
  • Understand and use technology systems

Critical Thinking

  • Practise observing carefully in order to recognize problems
  • Interpret data
  • Draw reasonable conclusions and generalizations
  • Revise understanding based on new information and evidence
  • Formulate factual, topical, conceptual and debatable questions
  • Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues
  • Identify trends and forecast possibilities

 

 

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*HT Twitter:

 

Making the Invisible Visible: Climate Change & CO2

This is very neat video from NASA, showing carbon dioxide changes over time, with annotations. See a breakdown here.

Better Living Through Chemistry: Student Science Writers

In this compressed semester of Grade 9 MYP Chemistry, I had students do one full-length One World piece, written for a wider online audience. We had done formative One World work earlier in the semester, and the process of this article took a good few weeks, with drafting on GoogleDocs.

 

Brief: write a 1,200-1,500 word article for an online audience on the prompt “Better living through Chemistry: Chemical solutions to Global Issues.”

Assessment: One World and Communication in Science

Process: Topics proposed and drafted through GoogleDocs, with students seeking feedback on writing through highlighting and comments in the GoogleDocs. In the final sessions they put the articles together in WordPress and gave peer-feedback for quality of presentation, flow and message. We aimed to use images found through CreativeCommons Search and through Getty’s free Images(though the embed widget went squiffy on some of their wordpress editors).

Teacher note: this kind of task is a great way to realise that we are all language teachers. Managing workflow through GoogleDocs/Hapara makes commenting on drafts easier, though students need to keep their work there in order to show progression. The worflow and product are similar to the Grade 10 Environmental Science task, though with more scaffolding along the way.

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Some highlights (with a range of scores) are posted below. Please click-through, read them and leave some encouraging comments!

 

Exploring Environments: Science Writers

 

Building on last year’s Exploring Environments units (G10 Environmental Science), in which students formed groups and designed their own units of inquiry, we have once again taken on the science-writing challenge.

Image: Writing in Nature #98872063 / gettyimages.com

Brief: write a 1,200-1,500 word article for an online audience highlighting a case study connected to your unit’s central ideas. The articles should be aimed at peers and smarter, and should include properly-used media and video where appropriate.

Assessment: One World and Communication in Science

Process: Topics proposed and drafted through GoogleDocs, with students seeking feedback on writing through highlighting and comments in the GoogleDocs. In the final sessions they put the articles together in WordPress and gave peer-feedback for quality of presentation, flow and message. We aimed to use images found through CreativeCommons Search and through Getty’s free Images (though the embed widget went squiffy on some of their wordpress editors).

Teacher note: this kind of task is a great way to realise that we are all language teachers. Managing workflow through GoogleDocs/Hapara makes commenting on drafts easier, though students need to keep their work there in order to show progression.

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Some highlights (with a range of scores) are posted below. Please click-through, read them and leave some encouraging comments!

 

Niches for Species: George Monbiot’s TED Talk on Rewilding.

This TED Talk from Guardian environment writer George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) makes a compelling argument for rewilding: putting back what we have taken from nature, letting the ecosystems do what they will and allowing the megafauna to re-reshape the ecosystem.

“It offers us the hope that our silent spring can be replaced by a raucous summer.”

The connections across the curriculum here are clear, most notably to 5.1 Ecosystems and HL Option G4: Conservation of Biodiversity. Well worth 15 minutes and could be the stimulus for class discussion.

Processing Data: A Department Student Learning Goal

In the 2012-13 school year, our science department worked on a collaborative Student Learning Goal to improve student performance in Criterion E: Data ProcessingClick here to find out more about the process, outcomes and next steps.

Think Global, Act Local: Give One World a Chance.

The One World criterion in MYP Sciences can get a bad rap and I think it is because it has been misinterpreted as being unscientific or too ‘soft’ for a science class. Sure, you don’t want to spend the whole semester doing One World essays, but we can make much better use of its potential. It can be a good showcase of student writing and ethical discussion, as well as an authentic connection between research and real world.

Here are a few pieces of recent work from students that give some idea of how engaging it can be. All are from the same class, with the prompt “Think Global, Act Local“.

 

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I think for One World to be successful it needs to have the following elements:

  • An audience. I hate that students write for me alone, so the more that we can blog, the better: especially when it is community-related. The blogs allow us to include images, videos, links and mirror more closely the work of real science writers. I do need to get better at getting students and others to comment on their work.
  • An authentic purpose. In the examples above, part of the purpose was to highlight that our own actions as a school have consequences, but also to give some inspiration for CAS projects. Connecting One World to other subjects or global issues might help students see the purpose of their research and writing.
  • Differentiation. Of course it’s boring when 20 students write the same response to the same question. A good unit question might be all the stimulus it takes to get many different ideas, all connected to the significant concepts. We should help students pick questions of personal interest.
  • Enough guidance to help those in need, but not enough to stifle the students’ voice. The criterion is complex, and it is easy to break it into a checklist or paragraph-by-paragraph pro-forma. For students that need this level of support, that is fine, but for some it is like a straitjacket. I like to give students the guidance, but encourage them to take their own path, if they can.
  • Time. It is very easy to set these kinds of tasks as homework and be done with it, but that doesn’t do the students or the task justice. If it is a summative assessment task, it should be mostly completed in school; if it is valuable to count in the report, it is valuable to… value with time.
  • Feedback and self-assessment. Drafting in GoogleDocs makes for easy, timely and directed feedback to students during the process.

What other suggestions do you have for successful One World work?Do you have examples of great student One World work you’d like to share? If so, please do so in the comments.

Here’s a little presentation that might be useful for a formative or introductory task:

 

Exploring Environments: Student-Designed Units & Hapara

Click here for a summary of our recent student-designed Grade 10 (MYP5) Environmental Sciences unit that we planned for students to design and implement. I used this project as my trial for Hapara, a GoogleDocs dashboard system. 

Hapara Dashboard: screenshot well after the project has finished, but you get the idea. Green = Bio, Orange = Chem.

Hapara Dashboard: screenshot well after the project has finished, but you get the idea. Green = Bio, Orange = Chem. Click on the image for the post about the project, including some sample documents. 

In summary, using this as a management tool allowed for a smooth and highly differentiated, student-led inquiry unit in MYP 5 Environmental Science. Find out more.

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