In this article, we’ll expand on the ideas of graphing characters and also look at how we can use graphs to reinforce students’ judgments.
It’s easy for science instruction to linger in the bowels of Bloom’s Taxonomy as we try to cram everything into the tiny time allotted. However, isolated facts don’t inspire our students. Let’s set up units that invoke creativity but demand knowledge.
Science should be more than memorizing facts. Let’s spice it up and push our students from the doldrums of remembering to the soaring heights of evaluation. While it’s true that this will take longer than just following a textbook, we’re not just teaching facts, we’re equipping students with the ability to make well-informed judgements.
Smith uses his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology to target gifted students’ unique thinking processes. Units are designed for deep exploration with many avenues of thought. All projects are based on ill-structured problems, with no “right answers.” He also runs his district’s enrichment program, so the units are designed for busy teachers. Each unit is structured into step-by-step, daily lessons (even including homework ideas!).
At our school, 6th graders participate in an annual egg drop. To increase the rigor, I looked for unique scientific roles and came up with three: designing a parachute to slow the egg’s descent, testing materials to pack inside the structure, and developing the structure itself. Each of these roles will be developed into a scientific discipline.
It’s time to address students who want to experiment on Curiosity Fridays. We need to help them develop a scientific question and hypothesis. We’ll use SCAMPER to create interesting questions and depth and complexity to track data.
We learn best when we’re interested in what we’re learning about. In a standards based classroom, however, it’s difficult to authorize science research about nuclear power plants when the science standards cover the parts of a plant. Rather than let students loose completely, consider giving them freedom within your grade-level curriculum. Allow students to generate questions and use those questions to drive your instruction.
If we expect gifted students to learn information at a more rigorous level than the general population, then we must also assess them at higher levels as well. How can you embed higher level thinking skills into an assessment (and ditch those “multiple choice” and “fill in the blank” sections)?