Friday, May 6, 2016

Solar Ovens Week 2, Oral Evaluations and Climate Graph Intro

So, perhaps as predicted the solar oven project too a little longer than predicted. Due to bad weather, we didn't get the best days of testing. This resulted in the exit interviews starting on Thursday rather than Wednesday and will probably enter into next week. However, we are ending today with the big test of the ovens as well as using them to make SMORES! This last part is the surprise to the students.

Here was the week:

Solar Ovens:
Overall a big success. Students continued to think creatively about how to make adaptations to their ovens, but also find the supportive data in their peers experiments. It was interesting how every solar oven experiment was made public for other individuals to use. This was a big change from the start of the project where students were wanting to keep ideas and results private. Next week we are going to be exploring how this decision to apply patents/copyright on research results can be challenging for overall innovation, as well as encourage it.

The new thing this week are the exit interview. Students are completing a verbal evaluation where they need to identify the modification they made, explain how it harnesses the sun's energy and provide evidence from their peers to show that it works. Providing a verbal evaluation has been great for two reasons:

  1. Students who are verbally strong now have the chance to share their understanding in a manner that suits their preferred communication style. They come prepared, but can explain further without being concerned about the time it takes to write down their ideas. 
  2. Feedback and clarification is automatic. I get very frustrated with written evaluations where the student didn't interpret the question correctly and therefore did not put the right answer down, even though you know they know it. By having it done verbally, I can pose the same question, but then ask clarifying questions afterwards to see if they do understand the material. It is also a great chance, once the evaluation is completed, to provide feedback on both their ability to do a verbal evaluation, but also address the misconceptions or misunderstandings they have about the concept rather than wait 2 weeks to get back their written work. 
Students are coming well prepared which is a big help to me. So far, the results have been quite good as students in this model are better able to share their understanding. If a student is not prepared, they have not been meeting the expectations and have been asked if they would like a chance to re-do or stay with the result. This has also been interesting. 

Materials for this week:

Climate Change and Climate Graphs:
The presentations of each of the IPCC's climate graphs were completed this week. Now a bulletin board has been made outside the classroom to show the connections between different graphs and how the data can tell a new story. This has been effective for the students to see the larger picture of climate change, with the supportive data. 

They also took time this week to explore climate graphs (showing temperature and precipitation). This has been very helpful for the Social Studies teacher who used to take a lot of time to explain how to read them. By having it as a part of their homework and an in class activity, the students are learning how to read them with me, but then going to apply the information in their other class. 

Materials for this week:

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