AP European History simulates the Industrial Revolution
Mr. Quinn and I teamed up to plan a lesson together to teach the Industrial Revolution which began in Great Britain in the 1780's. The students were introduced to the simulation by presenting them with maps of Manchester, England from 1750 and 1850. They were able to observe the urban sprawl that occurred over 100-years time and asked to predict how this sprawl happened given what they know about Britain's social, political, economic, technological, and environmental status in 1750. The simulation took students through 100-years of change in a typical British town, highlighting the advancements in technology, the social, political, and economic changes, and the toll these changes took on the environment and family life at the time. Embedded in this simulation were primary documents that typified the events of the day which students discussed to deepen their understanding of the time period. Ultimately, students used the historical background they created early on and the documents they used each day in class to practice the skill of Document Based Question (DBQ) writing for the AP exam.
PBL in the works for the 9th grade cluster
Problem Based Learning, or PBL, has been an area of study for the 9th grade cluster teachers over the last two years. What began as a book study last year, is now in the planning and implementation phase. PBL presents students with a messy problem to sort out, learning of new material occurs as a careful balance between independent discovery and teacher-led activities, and ultimately students create a final product of their choice presenting their solution. PBL was first developed in medical schools to teach content along with developing creative thinking, research, and problem solving skills. By approaching new material through PBL, students take the reigns of their learning and are able make better meaning of the content we teach. I don't want to give too much away, but this year our 9th grade cluster students are going to be asked to approach problems as though they were FEMA task-force members, genetic counselors, and graduate research assistants in their Health, Biology and Honors English classes.
SPARKS and Think Tank are under way
The online-blended elective, SPARKS and Think Tank began this week. When we are done in June, I look forward to some wonderful independent research presentations from this crew! We kicked off our semester of inquisition on Tuesday with our first face-to-face meeting. At the meeting, students were given an overview of the course and introduced to the online learning platform, Edmodo. We also did a few getting-to-know-you and team building activities. Pictured below are students completing "Silent Squares" where the team had to make their way through a secret path on the grid without talking. In our debrief, we talked about how this activity was a metaphor for online learning and how we are all will need to adjust how we communicate since "talking it out" is no longer an option.