Reflection on a recent successful lesson

A recent lesson that we taught that was particularly engaging for the students was titled “The Human Model of the Atom”. This model involved slowly setting up an atom and involving the kids as electrons. Through this lesson, we hoped to quickly teach the basic parts of the atom (e.g. nucleus, proton, neutron, and electron) and then some basic important concepts (e.g. energy levels, excitation, and electrostatics). This lesson was successful due to us moving the classroom outdoors for the activity and allowing the students to physically run around while simulating electrons. Through this set-up, the children were having fun while learning important concepts. One issue (created mostly by the very short time constraint) was how rapidly we moved through the material without any checkpoints for understanding. To improve the activity, we could have had a 5 minute quick-write session in-between each stage of the activity. But considering how it took 10 minutes to walk outside and 10 minutes to walk back inside, even a 5 minute quick-write session (requiring 5 minutes on either side to allow the kids to settle down) would have severely hampered the lesson.

 

We tried utilizing the 3-2-1 type of assessment for a homework reading. After the reading, students were asked for vocabulary, fill-in-the-blank, and then 1 question that they had from the reading. As the vocabulary and fill-in-the-blank portions were merely checking for completion of the assignment, we were not surprised to find ubiquitously correct answers. The question deriving from the reading, however, showed that the vast majority of kids were completely disinterested in the material. Although the reading was at their level and was compelling, the kids had absolutely zero interest in the assignment. We concluded that although the “flipped” classroom method can be useful for introducing vocabulary words, there is little to no chance for at-home mental connections or further curiosity with these children.

 

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