'Modeling' science teaching and learning - a few notes on the first day of class
Aug 29, 2018
2 minute read

My first day of class (at UTK) was last week. I was excited that the first day went well; it was a good start to teaching in a new setting (and to teaching a class that is new - to me). Like anyone in my position, I spent a lot of time thinking about the first class. Some notes here in the case that others might find them relevant/at all useful:

  • We did a simple activity in which students modeled science teaching and learning. I provided just a few materials guidelines:
    • The goal was “to develop a model of equitable science teaching and learning”
    • Students were provided sheets of paper and markers; they could only use lines, circles, and text
    • Everyone had to make at least one contribution to the model
    • After about 15 minutes, students posted their models in the classroom, and then each student took two different colors of post-it notes, one to post something they liked about the model, and something they would suggest improvements on

That was pretty much it; the assignment was open-ended. And, it worked well; it gave students a chance to share what they thought (and to think about the best way to share how) and to develop some initial ideas about the scientific and engineering practice of modeling. Students returned to their models in the next class to sum up changes that they would make (later)

Thie activity also led into more general conversations about how no model is perfect, whether it’s those developed in class or those that are (explicitly or implicitly) the models of science teaching and learning advanced in recent science education reform efforts, such as the Next Generation Science Standards (Nationally) and the Tennessee Academic Standards for Science (new statewide for 2018).

Here are a few of students’ models: