A Journey Through Technology

Week 7 Reflection

on March 7, 2016

I think this week went very well, though it was also kind of stressful at the same time. Interestingly enough, I was already planning the lab my students are going to be doing this next week, which is an inquiry-based that is perfectly suited for a mini-PBL unit. The idea of doing our differentiation unit as a PBL unit is very exciting, but at the same time I am feeling so overwhelmed by all of the ideas we have been learning about so far. Differentiation seems like it would work so well in my classroom, but the time factor in trying to adapt lessons for differentiation is very daunting to me. I am also very excited by the idea of using PBL in my classroom, but after looking this week, I haven’t found a whole lot of information about using PBL in chemistry. I was hoping to find some good resources with some lessons already made up, but so far I have only found one possibility. I am actually planning on contacting a teacher whose blog I read to see if she shares or sells her PBL units. They seem like they would really work in my classroom.

My impact on the learning of others this week comes from our Twitter session on Wednesday night, as well as my blog posting for this week. I had two comments on my essential question this week, which is the most I’ve had for the past few weeks. We all seem to agree that changing the way we teach is very uncomfortable, and I know for me the main reason is that I just don’t feel like I have enough time to spend on everything. I’m also terrified of not being in control of my classroom, but not because I don’t trust my students. I don’t want to not be in control because I am just a natural control freak. I always feel like things need to be done a certain way, so having students chose their own way is just weird to me. I know I will be able to adjust to PBL, but it’s going to have to be one baby step at a time.

Others have contributed to my learning this week through both Twitter and their blog posts. Twitter is always so informative and I love getting to read everyone’s thoughts and ideas about things. I also enjoy reading about how others in the class have already tried differentiation or PBL and it always gets me thinking about what I could do next. I read through Amber, Kate, and Natalie’s posts this week and found that we all agree on some important aspects of using PBL, like collaboration between students and using scaffolding. I think I am finally starting to understand what scaffolding is based on the posts this week. In the past I’ve thought of it as a ladder, building on things as you go, but now I realize its just ways of supporting students in their learning.

I think I’ve come up with an ill-structured problem for my PBL unit. The unit we will be covering in that time-frame is gas laws, so I was thinking of ways to use PBL and differentiation to help. I think I want my question to center around the decreased supply of helium on earth. Something like, “How can we fix the helium shortage?” or “Could another gas be used in the place of helium?” or “Is carbon dioxide a suitable replacement for helium?”. All of these could be centered around the gas laws and could also help us review other topics we’ve already covered this year. I’m hoping to spend some time during spring break planning this in more detail.

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