“Having confidence in one’s ideas does not mean ‘I know my ideas are right’; it means ‘I am willing to try out my ideas.'” ~Eleanor Duckworth
To me, learning is not just about academic content and right answers, it is also about emotions, personal connections, and coming up with ideas. Deep learning involves asking questions and stirring up feelings. No matter the age, I introduce students to subjects that are topical, controversial, and interdisciplinary. I use grander questions, such as genetic engineering, pesticides, energy consumption— questions for which there are not yet right answers— as reasons to learn the details. The following is a sampling of curricula I either developed from scratch, or modified from existing curricula.
- Rock-Candy-Project to reinforce concepts about boiling point, saturation, and crystallization (middle school or elementary).
- Rubber Band-Powered Car Project: modified from Cambridge Public Schools curriculum (middle school or elementary).
- Claims-Evidence-Reasoning worksheet, to help students with nonfiction writing.
- GMO debate Instructions-Rose: Students debate the pros and cons of genetically modified organisms.
- Herbal Medicine Lab to be completed alongside a lab in which students synthesize aspirin (middle or high school).
- Reflection on planning the unit, Insects and Our Food (third grade).
- Sample Lesson: The Phases of the Moon: Paper Model Limitations (third-grade).
- Video of class discussion (please email me for the password).
- Influential video: Dan Myer: “Math serves the conversation, the conversation doesn’t serve the math.”