As my summer draws to a close, my brain is completely packed full of curriculum ideas. My goal is to continue to create more authentic and engaging lessons for my students. I feel refreshed and have a new perspective on how to create my “dream” curriculum.
My kenan fellows team is in the process of creating some pretty great modules for our citizen science projects. The key to our “real science” projects has to do with questions. Our first module involves students creating mazes in petri dishes in order to watch the growth of bacteria and to test the effectiveness of different food sources. Students will actually develop their own questions in this experiment and explore the answers to these questions. A huge part of the success of this lesson depends on questioning skills. As a teacher, I am reminded over and over that good teaching begins with the questions that I ask. But, even better, my students will have the opportunity to create their own questions. The student autonomy that this lesson will create is so exciting.
Our second module really emphasizes the significance of 21st century skills. Students will have the opportunity to research DNA sequences of certain bacteria in order to discover the diversity of their locations and environments. The data they discover will actually help scientists to interact with the research of other scientists around the world. What is more authentic than that?
So, school year 2016-17, here’s to more authentic lessons full of questions, student autonomy, and 21st century skills!