Beginning to flip learning

I am SO lucky! I’m at a Distance Education school where, flipped learning is pretty much the norm. However, until recently students have been asked to read long amounts of text in science.

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This is no more as far as I’m concerned.

Yesterday, the day that changed my educational future, I discovered an invaluable web tool called Video Scribe. And began making awesome looking videos instantly.

MY FIRST VIDEOSCRIBE VIDEO on SIMPLE MACHINES:

Taking advice from the greats of video lessons I made sure that it was:

  • less than 5 minutes long
  • catchy and relevant to my students
  • animated!
  • focused on lower order thinking skills (knowledge and understanding).

Enjoy the first video I produced and I will be making all my video lessons available on my website under “For Teachers“.

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Year 9 – Redesigned

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OR: I’ve just scrapped everything I’m doing this year for something WAY MORE AWESOME

There is nothing worse than attending an incredible professional development as a teacher and then carrying on with your routine as though nothing has changed.

I have decided – NOT THIS TIME!

I was absolutely determined to make use of the incredible week I had at STEMX in Canberra as soon as possible.

 

Have a look at my year plan: mushing PBL and STEM together to make one beautifully awesome educational baby.

Rough Driving Questions in the order which students will be asked to do them:

 

1) Devise a Rube Goldberg machine that takes at least 1 minute to run that, when videoed will deliver the message of “welcome to Year 9 Science”. (Audience: each other, and current Year 8s) (Approx 2 weeks)

2) How could you use what you learned at the Observatory to create a device that improves your mobile phone reception for under $20? (Audience: Observatory staff) (Approx 8 weeks)

3) Using a programming software of your choice, model aspects of ecosystem interactions in the form of a game that will be presented to primary school students in years 5 and 6. (Audience: Local primary school) (Approx 5 weeks)

4) Prototype methods of mitigating tsunamis that are triggered by the warning signs of tsunamis and design a scientific experiment to test their effectiveness. (Audience: Geoscience Australia) (Approx 5 weeks)

5) Measure the happiness and wellbeing of your local community and create a plan to improve this by 2020. (Headspace) (Approx 5 weeks)

6) Create and refine a unique recipe that utilises at least two chemical reactions with evidence of experimenting with different ingredients, proportions and cooking methodologies to produce the desired product. (Audience: local TAFE Cookery students) (Approx 7 weeks)

7) Create a piece of artwork that is based on a scientific concept that you have studied this year which incorporates the use of electrical circuits. The design must allow you to give a three minute presentation explaining how you made it and the scientific concept you are illustrating. (Audience, parents and community members) (Approx 8 weeks)

What do you think?

Stuck what to say about the Draft Earth and Environmental Science Syllabus for NSW? – here are my views

If you care about the future of English, science, mathematics or history education in NSW, you’ll make your views heard. Here is where you can do that before August 31. http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabuses/curriculum-development/senior-years.html

Read more for selected comments I made on the Draft HSC Earth Syllabus for NSW. *Caution, emotive language used.

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Collaborative Timeline on the Evolution of Life on Earth

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I wanted to do something a bit fun with this. I thought if I made it online, I could make it a whole class collaborative project. I listed the different events in the history of life on Earth and gave my students a brief run down of what the different events were. Then asked them to create a very short summary answering the following questions:

  1. When is this event occurring (provide the best estimates of time period)?
  2. Describe the event that you are researching. Outline key features of the event. Provide references for your research.
  3. What evidence (such as fossils where possible) do scientists use to describe this event? Include images/video.
  4. How does this event contribute to the diversity in the evolution of life on Earth? I.e. what implications does this event have on future life on Earth?

I then asked my students to peer assess another groups summaries against the same above criteria and fix up any suggestions that the other group made on their own summaries. Finally this edited version was to be uploaded onto a class timeline generated on Timeglider. I’m not sure this was the best Web2.0 tool to use for this purpose. It didn’t allow collobration between members so basically we all used the same login and password to create this timeline. In future I would like to look for another tool that allows each pair of students to create an account and then they upload their work from this source. It would aid in me keeping track of who’s submitted their work and who hasn’t. My class’ timeline can be found here.

Mitosis Lesson

Your body produces If I had a gun to my head and absolutely HAD to pick a favourite topic in biology, I would probably choose mitosis and meiosis. I can’t imagine that this would ever be the case, but you know, it paints a pretty picture. After 7 years of studying meiosis I still have to think about how to spell it – I don’t know what it is, I just find it so tricky. Anyway, mitosis. I taught this for my very first time on my first teaching practicum and the students absolutely ate it up.

Let me explain why.

So you know how when you’re really excited about something you become very animated about it and you can’t help but infect everyone with your excitement. Yeah that’s pretty much what happened. You can see the powerpoint I used to help in my presentation and you can pretty much feel the excitement leaping out at you.

stole borrowed a lot of ideas from the one and only Hank Green of the VlogBrothers. They have an amazing YouTube series called Crash Course. Here, go watch it and come back.

Oh hai there. Welcome back!

So what I basically did was tell my students (half of whom were on an excursion anyway) put your books away. This is the most exciting story you will ever be told and I don’t want you to write anything I just want you to listen. In retrospect I probably should’ve “Checked for Understanding” but I was a novice. I might do it slightly different in future. I told them about how at a cellular level our bodies are incredible. We make over 300 billion cells per day. Just try to wrap your head around that for a second. There are 7 billion people on the planet. Gosh I love science.

So even on your laziest day where you watch 2 whole seasons of Orphan Black because your student may have told you that it’s a really good show to watch and you totally agree cause it’s about cloning. Even on those days you are freaking incredible. Then I said to them: When do we even need mitosis? What is it?

You cut your finger and your skin needs to repair itself.

BAM MITOSIS.

You’re a newborn and you want to grow bigger and taller.

BAM MITOSIS.

Your immune system wants to fight off disease.

BAM MITOSIS.

Your stomach lining is eaten away by the cells they produce.

BAM MITOSIS.

Are you noticing a pattern here? And half the class said BAM MITOSIS. It was a good moment.

Have I sold you? Wanna see my PowerPoint?

Ask nicely!

Mitosis PowerPoint