Wednesday, April 12, 2017

7 new things I tried this term

  1. I redesigned and adapted my favourite board game, Catan, in an attempt to engage some of my more passive learners in a more active way. It worked a treat, particularly for my Pasifika learners! Afterwards, I had the students evaluate their strategy from a mathematical perspective, and then plan a different strategy for the next time we played.

  2. I decided that there was not enough ethics in addressed in our curriculum. So I have made an ethics section as part of all scientific investigations. As I expected, students have actually spent little to no time thinking about preventing harm in academic contexts. To be honest, this has me a little bit concerned given the state of the world.
  3. I tried combining three achievement standards into one. This is a work in progress. I'll have to let you know how that goes. Essentially, the students are doing a scientific investigation and using the data gathering process and analysis as evidence towards two maths standards. My hope is that through combing the standards that students can gain an appreciation for the range of skills and knowledge that goes into the process of constructing new scientific knowledge. The standards are:
    • AS90925: Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context, with direction 
    • AS91026: Apply numeric reasoning in solving problems
    • AS91036: Investigate bivariate numerical data using the statistical enquiry cycle 
  4. I have been trying to help students have deeper discussion with a more diverse range of students. To do this, I have experimented using question scripts that include a series of questions to interview each other about, question cards to have a bank of questions to help draw out each other's answer in more depth, and even setting complex tasks that required extended discussion and a range of perspectives to solve.
  5. You may have already read about the Learning Hub Inquiry. The process of engaging students with actively developing a personal goal through a personal action research project. Again, a work in progress as this involves leading the HPSS staff through the process too.
  6. I've been trying to engage students with the idea of cognitive bias. I am approaching this from the angle of why we have processes such as the scientific method and random sampling, and how this helps us overcome cognitive bias. This has been inspired through two books, Tomas Pernecky's Epistemology and Metaphysics for Qualitative Research and Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow.
  7. I've been having a go at engaging students with futures thinking. By this I mean, getting students to engage with designing solutions for complex problems with no one right answer. Students have been designing a space city. They have been asked to make calculations about how much food, oxygen and water they will need. They have explored alternative food sources, energy sources and some even how to maintain genetic diversity in a reduced population in space. 
    Students planning their space city.