Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ladder of Feedback

I use the Ladder of Feedback from Project Zero a lot with students and in workshops/ proijects, but I really like this version adapted by Sonya Terborg, adding “Thanks” at the end. Give it a go!

sonya terborg

Ladder of Feedback

I am working with MYP students on a Design unit at the moment in which they are designing a solution under the umbrella topic of “Improving Lives”. Everyone is at the stage of needing feedback on ideas in order to help inform their decision of which idea to pursue in more detail. To guide this process, I went in search of a thinking routine or protocol that might provide some structure to this feedback.

I was initially inspired by a Mind/Shift post on Developing Students’ Ability to Give and Take Effective Feedback.  It detailed a High School idea of using DeBono’s thinking hats to guide feedback and a modified ‘warm/cool’ feedback protocol for primary students. While these ideas got me thinking, I was looking for something a little more in depth than the warm/cool and a little more structured – or more specifically, something with a more defined structure…

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Content & Inquiry in a Google World

Space Twins & Epigenetics

1600px-mark_and_scott_kelly_at_the_johnson_space_center2c_houston_texas

Mark and Scott Kelly at the Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Sign up for the Teach.Genetics mailing list from GSLC here. 

The ever-wonderful Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah sent this helpful email update to counter misconceptions around the Kelly Twins’ “Genetic Differences” as a result of Scott’s year on the International Space Station.

You may have seen the headlines about identical twin astronauts, Mark and Scott Kelly, now being “genetically different” after Scott spent a year in space while Mark remained on Earth. Yet much of the popular press has failed to explain that these differences are mostly epigenetic modifications leading to changes in gene expression. Or that several of the analyses were limited to circulating white blood cells and are thus mostly relevant to the immune system.

 

Here are some great resources they shared:

Now go over and subscribe!

They have great resources for students at the Genetic Science Learning Center, and for educators at their new Teach.Genetics site. You can also follow them for Twitter updates hereSign up for the Teach.Genetics mailing list from GSLC here. 

Is this an inquiry with an ‘I’ or an enquiry with an ‘e’?

Wayfinder Learning Lab

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a while, and I was reminded to complete it after a question from a student when I was covering a TOK class: “What’s the difference between inquiry and enquiry?”

So here goes…

Defining Inquiry: A Pragmatic Approach

I’ve been thinking and writing about this a lot over the last few years, tinkering with and testing definitions that try to capture what makes powerful, pragmatic inquiry learning. He’s my current best effort and if you pick it apart you should be able to recognise the best elements of the classical with an aspiration towards the contemporary (in the Bold Moves sense).

Inquiry iscreative, critical, reflective thought. It builds on a solid foundation of accessible, well-learned knowledge, skills and conceptual understandings, inviting learners to take action on their learning and ask “what if…?”  

Although it…

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A Plastic Ocean. Genuinely Terrifying.

Streaming now on Netflix and available through other means, A Plastic Ocean is a terrifying (but well done) feature-length documentary on the rapidly growing crisis in the oceans as a direct result of human impacts.

IB Bio and ESS students will find many curricular connections in this movie, from food webs, water cycles and ocean currents to animal behaviour, biomagnification and endocrinology. Including the impact on human and animal health, this film raises and alarm and shows where we’ve gone wrong. There are some really insightful sections of scientists at work, where we can see “how we know what we know” and what actions are being taken. The final section has some fascinating solutions and actions. Give it a go.

Tanya Streeter, world-record freediver, narrates and is featured in much of the film. Her TEDx Talk tells a similar story.

Taking Action

Ocean plastics have really come into vogue the last couple of years, and it is a safe bet that someone near you is involved in taking action. From beach cleans, reef surveys and cleanups to campaigns to ban single-use plastics (chapeau, Costa Rica), plastic is clearly one of those issues that is indisputably – embarrassingly – human made.

What’s your school doing to reduce the scourge of plastic?

 

Capturing the Criteria & “Zooming In”

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.

 

8 Mind-Blowing Optical Illusions

Here’s nine neat minutes from Sci Show on illusions – classic and modern – that will be of use to those studying Option A: Neurobiology & Behaviour.

 

A Great Batch of TOK Questions

This year’s TOK Questions are a great crop (I think) for connecting the sciences as an area of knowledge with many current and historical knowledge issues. Here’s a wee poster I made on PiktoChart for the questions. Which do you lean towards and why?

 

The Environment is Interdisciplinary

Working with Eco Club and thinking about the complexities of the interactions, causes, effects and issues we need to tackle, I am often reminded of this Lovelock quote, from a 2014 interview in the Guardian. Perhaps if we can get interdisciplinary teaching and learning right in our schools, we can help students make the connections they need to truly understand the deeper causes of the problems they might need to solve.

For a more detailed post on how we’re trying to tackle IDU’s, please see my blog.

lovelock_teaching_mess_ibiologystephen

James Lovelock on the challenge of really teaching people about the environment, from this Guardian interview: http://gu.com/p/3zx4j

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