Inquiry, curiosity is the heart of real learning. When we are curious, when we have questions that matter, we are more likely to seek out the answers. So what better question to begin the year than how did we get here? Yes the age old question of how did it all begin and following the amazing journey to human beings.
My students were presented with a multitude of explanations including the scientific explanation otherwise known as the Big Bang Theory. No not the awesome TV show, but the theory that explains all things began out of nothingness when an explosion began pushing matter outward at incredible speed to have it connect together to form the galaxies, stars, planets including earth. From there we get live that begins in the oceans, then land, and eventually develops and progresses to humans.
On the other side is the theory of Intelligent Design. The belief that a higher, supernatural being planned out the creation of the galaxies, stars, planets and creation of all living beings including humans. Both have merits, and both have areas where some question their validity.
The dilemma posed to students is not what to believe, but rather, what should be taught. In years past I posed this same question to students with the scenario that the audience for their persuasive papers would be the local school board. After taking two graduate classes last year, and a summer filled with collaboration with amazing educators, I modified this project. I learned from other educator's examples the idea of authentic tasks. My modification was to change the task from a paper to a presentation. I then decided to take a chance and see if I could make the task even more meaningful.
I contacted members of our school board and our superintendent. I am thrilled to report that my students will be presenting in front of members of the school board next week Thursday and Friday. I have worked with my students to prepare their presentations, and I am excited to see the fruits of their labor.
My next dilemma is what to do while students are presenting on the same topic? I would typically have students listen to others present. However, with the idea being students present what they think, I don't want them to be influenced by the comments that the panel shares with the groups who present prior to them. I also need to be able to evaluate the students during their presentations.
The solution is to beg my colleagues to give up their prep to supervise my classes so I am able to be in during the panel discussion. I am not sure if I will be able to make it happen for two straight days, but I am going to build on our new found sense of collaboration from today's Professional Development.
To ease the burden on those who supervise my students, I am going to introduce genius hour this week so students are able to work on something meaningful instead of listening to very similar presentations over and over again. I am excited about this project and its possibilities for my students to engage in real world skills and tasks while in a safe nurturing environment.
When this project is completed I will update my post. I am expecting some amazing results, and hope this is a memorable experience for all of my students.