By Judi Fusco
Active Learning Day is Today, October 25! What are you doing for it? What will active learning look like in your classroom? In active learning, students work on meaningful problems and activities to help them construct their learning. This includes inquiry activities, discussion and argumentation, making, solving problems, design, and questions.
Last month, we had the pleasure of helping organize the Active Learning in STEM Education Symposium, sponsored by NSF as part of the activities honoring the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching awardees. The keynote speaker, Bill Penuel, focused on “talk” -- particularly “accountable talk” -- as an important activity to support Active Learning.
If you want to know more about accountable talk, take a look at the Talk Science Primer by TERC. There are many great tips for teachers of all subjects in there. For Math Classrooms, here’s a link discussing Creating Math Talk Communities. For general information about it see ASCD's Procedures for Classroom Talk.
In the Active Learning in STEM Education Symposium, one of the presenters, Joe Krajcik, discussed Interactions, a curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to make science an active endeavor in a classroom. (Visit the Interactions project page and click on the curriculum tab to learn more.) Language and talk are essential in NGSS. You may want to check out the videos on the NSTA site where you can see what NGSS looks like in action. You can also see what NGSS looks like in a 4th grade Science Classroom; this video was shown in the Active Learning Day in STEM symposium by Okhee Lee as she discussed NGSS for all Students including English Learners.
Other presentations at the symposium included Jennifer Knudsen on Bridging Professional Development and the idea of using Improv in a Math class, Eric Hamilton on collaborating with a cyber-ensemble of tools, Tamara Moore on using mathematical modeling to engage learners in meaningful problem solving skills, David Webb on AgentCubes as active learning, and Nichole Pinkard on Digital Youth Divas and making eCards to learn about circuitry. (See links to the presentations of all the speakers on the site. )
Active Learning Day is officially today, but there’s no reason why you can’t do more in your classroom at any time. Leave a comment and tell us about what active learning looks like in your classroom!