Monday, December 11, 2017

PBL in Algebra Day 4

Here is a link to my previous posts about using QFT to start the project as well as links to my posts about the first two days of the unit.

Day 4: Writing a Draft Claim

This was our 4th day of the statistics unit and our project. At this point in the unit, students had many opportunities to interact with the data, so I thought it was a good time for students to start making the claim for their project. 

I had two big ah-ha moments as I was planning for this lesson.

First, since student would need to make a claim from the data we collected, I realized they needed to understand how to represent variables. Mainly, when do we use a scatter plot as opposed to a box plot or histogram (or pie chart, for that matter). Thus, I added a learning goal that I have not taught before: students will be able to identify variables as quantitative or categorical. 

This went WAY better than I anticipated. We talked about several examples as a class, then I gave students a list of some of the variables from the survey and had them identify the variables as qualitative or categorical. This was measurable #5 and was assessed individually. Students could revise work that had a low grades, though very students needed to revise. 

This helped a lot over the next couple lessons when students were looking for statistical evidence to support their claim. As students asked for a particular graph, I could ask them if they were representing a quantitative or categorical variable. And this helped us decide which type of graph wen needed (and we had rich conversations).

The second ah-ha moment happened the Friday before this lesson. My student teacher and I were talking about the project and our plans when I realized that we hadn't done the project ourselves! I decided that we should go through the project 'as students' to better inform our next steps and planning. Our project was an Instagram story--thanks Diarra Gueye for putting together the project (I don't have Instagram and wouldn't know how to make a story on there!). 

I'm super glad we did the project 'as students' because I realized that we made our claim (homework is unfair) AFTER looking at the data. Hence, when I planned the Day 4 lesson, I included time for students to look through the data to help them think about the claim they would be making.  I also made a bunch of graphs (scatter plots, histograms, box plots and pie charts) from the data so they could get an idea of what was available.  Engaging in the project as students helped me see where they would get stuck and it also helped me think about what I need to do to support them through the tough parts of the project.

I'm also glad I structured the lessons so that Monday's goal was a draft claim. Monday afternoon, I looked over the draft claims and gave students feedback so that on Tuesday they could finalize their claim and start to think about evidence. 

Here are a few examples of claims groups made. The biggest errors were: posing questions not making a claim and correlation and causation. Overall, however, I think they made a good start on their claim. 

As has been the trend with this project, engagement was super. Students had rich discussions, asked tough questions and called me or the student teacher over when they needed information to move forward. The challenging part, as has been the trend, was doing 8 different things with 8 different groups. 

I realize the power of direct instruction is that it is much easier to tell 28 students one thing and expect them to "meet me halfway". I have the intellectual authority and it is students 'job' to engage in the content as I deliver it to them.

PBL flips that script. Each student (or group) is working on something authentic, meaningful and important to them; however, that means that not every group is doing the same thing, at the same time. Thus, students call me when they have a need and I fill that need with the information I have. Within the clear parameters of my project, students have the authority to decide when they need what information to move forward. Thus giving them more of the authority and the power in the lesson. And this creates the engagement. 

More to come! 

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