The Magnetism of Magnets

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Photo Credit: Sean Kenney
Don’t worry – No storytelling, dialogue, poetry, digital mime or other bizarre writing styles in this post! No. Today I bring you an exciting new unit plan (well at least I think it is exciting) that I have altered and tweaked. ‘Altered’ and ‘tweaked’ are two highly apt terms when it comes to writing about this particular plan. This is perhaps due to the fact that this unit was already changed in a major way, by my excellent Year Three colleagues and I, last year!

What I have done, with the plan, is to try and make it more collaborative; with a heavier focus on digital connectivity and Zen presentation.
 

Questions to be answered:

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

Primarily because this unit offers great opportunities for the students to connect and collaborate with each other in a way that uses many of the learning theories encountered in the COETAIL course.

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

My biggest concern is with the final part of the unit where the students have to present their results and conclusions to the audience. If I am honest, I’m still not sure that the Zen Presentation style is the best method for the students to present their results to an audience. Also, I am still unsure about the exact nature of the audience the students will present to i.e. Do I want a live audience focus or would a digital audience focus be better for this unit?

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

The biggest shift in pedagogy will be the home learning element. I will have to be very clear about this aspect of the collaborative learning process. I’m still not sure exactly how this part will work i.e. Should I make the home collaboration and connectivity a compulsory part of their learning or should I leave it up to the students to decide how much they want to engage with this aspect of the learning?

What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

The students will need to actively work in a team/group; they will have to demonstrate their ability to connect and work with each other (to a greater or lesser degree) outside the classroom. Also, those students who are taking the research option are going to have to learn an entirely new method for investigating scientific questions.

To summarise:

Although we aren’t actually due to teach this unit until the second half of the spring term, I am really looking forward to seeing what the children’s attitudes will be like when it comes to mixing up independent work, collaborative work, connected learning and Zen presentation – A marvellously magnetic mixture of learning methods…

One Reply to “The Magnetism of Magnets”

  1. For me the question of audience is a bit one and maybe one you through back to the students. What would you need to say if you were presenting to the world? People who have never met you, know our class, or what we’re doing vs the people in our “local community”?

    I’d ask students who they wanted to present to and then have them create that presentation. Maybe that’s part of the choice……deciding who your audience is…that brings in a lot of digital citizenship learning on understanding audience and what and how to present to them.

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