Reflection on the unit/ teaching strategies

In reflection of the unit I thought I would do a SWOT analysis – this could be elaborated on further once the unit has been taught

Strengths:

  • Unit written with the Productive Pedagogies in mind – as described by the Queensland Government Department of Education and Training http://education.qld.gov.au/corporate/newbasics/html/pedagogies/pedagog.html.  The Productive Pedagogies are particularly designed for middle school environments and are particularly desirable for including diverse learners. and include sections of Intellectual Quality, Connectedness, Supportive Classroom Environment and Recognition of difference.  Anyone who has not come across these before READ THEM!!! makes a lot of sense and it would be great if these things were applied in every middle school classroom in the world
  • Very engaging and interesting unit – students of this age will particularly enjoy the DISASTER element of this class so most roads will lead to this element to ensure they stay engaged.
  • If I taught this unit I would also be engaged throughout the unit :O)
  • Community and indigenous involvement as well as connectivity to students’ local region (this could really be applied to any state in Australia since all states have either earthquake or past volcanic activity.
  • Caters for different learning styles
  • Contains various additions for extension students
  • Possibility for students to select assessment type – test or log book entries
  • Log book allows for continuous assessment – both formative and summative.  Serves as a guide to ensure students are not getting lost or on the wrong track.
  • The how volcanoes work website contains volcano quizzes and crosswords!!! these would be great for extension students.  Extension students could also work on their log book summaries and reflections if they finish any tasks early

Weaknesses:

  • Field trips could be time intensive.  Unit may need to be simplified if time requirements do not permit
  • I limited the amount of student choice when I was writing the teaching strategies – this would be dependent upon the class though – some would be more responsible if allowing students to choose their partners and assignment topic – others would take the situation to be a social event
  • Some of the co-operative learning techniques could be noisy
  • would be good to find a substitute demonstration for the volcanic eruption demonstration in the Explore phase, I have said to emphasis to students that we are talking about a physical change, rather than a chemical change but mixing bicarb and vinegar, at least in my head, reeks to much of chemical change and may be confusing…

Opportunities:

  • There is an opportunity to work collaboratively with other teachers with this unit.  Tsunami waves and seismic waves would make fantastic fodder for maths classes, There is an opportunity to connect this subject with history (either ancient or modern) and an opportunity to connect it with SOSE in looking at human impacts of natural disasters.
  • There is an opportunity to extend this unit to move into a life and living unit.  There is also an opportunity to extend the physics in this unit by focusing on energy conservation and transformation.
  • There is an opportunity to be flexible with assessment in this unit – to either make assessment through the learning log or through a test.

Threats:

  • Noise is a possible threat… A great tip was given by a teacher at a presentation I went to last year (horror upon horror but I can’t find her name…. sorry….) – she mentioned drawing a noise scale on the board and informing students they need to keep within an appropriate range – if they get to loud then mark the noise scale in red and bring it to the student’s attention they are being too noisy… maybe by clapping 3 times or something.
  • Explore activities could be messy… would be good if students wore lab coats perhaps…
  • Students involved in the Assessment 1 could have difficulties working with each other – or one student may be sick which may leave the other in the lurch.  If this occurs I would put the partnerless student in with the group who were covering the same Natural Disaster, if the student doesn’t wish to work alone (some students would opt for completing the assessment on their own if it was already part finished.

My objectives (to make sure I have fulfilled them all…) By the end of this unit I want students to be able to:

  1.  Recognise that a scientific theory is developed and refined over time through rigorous testing
  2.  Recognise the major tectonic plates on a world map
  3.  Recognise different boundary types and their properties (converging, diverging, transform)
  4.  Understand convection currents and their ability to drag lithospheric plates around
  5.  Understand how plate boundary activity leads to sea floor spreading, volcanoes and earthquakes
  6.  Recognise different kinds of volcanoes are due to different kinds of eruptions and the silica composition of the magma is responsible for the explosiveness of the eruption.
  7. Recognise hot spot activity may produce volcanoes and that hot spots stay relatively stationary, in comparison to the moving plates
  8. Recognise scientists’ roles in understanding, assessing and monitoring tectonic activity, the role of structural engineers in developing tsunami breaks and earthquake-safe buildings and how technological advances.
  9. Recognise the technology used in monitoring of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes and how advances in technology have increased our understanding of plate tectonics
  10. Recognise Australia’s tectonic history, including around the Gold Coast, and acknowledge the indigenous perspectives of these events
  11. Understand how seismic waves, liquefaction and tsunamis occur

YEP!!! have covered all that (plus some perhaps…)

Reflection on this assignment:

  • I loved it!!! my favourite assignment of all time… I highly recommend doing the assignment either as a blog or as an individual wiki page – the advantage of a wiki would be that it could be better organised (you could move things about) – you can’t do that so well with a blog….
  • I have learned so much about geology and continue to bore my friends and family about the subject – I have also learned heaps about the Gold Coast’s history.
  • I want to acknowledge Harry Kanasa, Griffith University Gold Coast Campus, my tutor for 7034EPS who taught me many of the learning strategies used in the unit part of this blog… THANKS HEAPS!!! and also, my other lecturers and tutors at Griffith who have filled my brain with productive pedagogies, constructivism and all other kinds of beaut stuff!!!
Keep tuned for more exciting stuff on this blog… I have decided to keep it to review other science topics…