I led public school teachers on an inquiry-based exploration of integrating Project Exploration’s model into their classroom for the Pittcon 2014 Science Week. We started by creating a Code of Conduct to help the teachers experience what it is like to define their leaning space. The code included “don’t be creepy with your phone” and “two then you” to ensure equity of voice.
The class investigated some of the element of Project Exploration’s programming that makes it successful. In lieu of traditional brainstorming, I opted to expose the teachers to metaforming. Metaformng is a technique I learned through The Art of Science Learning and involves creating a 3-D representation of a concept. The products were astonishing! I truly enjoyed listening to the explanations and seeing what the teachers came up with. My favorite metaform focused on the concept of the importance of scientists in the classroom.
We moved to an experiment that helped the teachers learn more about their reaction time. We used meter sticks and compared data to national averages, but my intention was not to evaluate physical reaction time. After the experiment I presented the teachers with a list of the fastest growing jobs in the country; the room fell silent. The list included UX designers, DevOPs engineers and UI developers. The teachers admitted not being incredibly familiar with the jobs and I emphasized the importance of inviting experts into the classroom to augment the learning experience.
It became apparent that the models that work incredibly well for the out of school time environment and may be a little hard to integrate into the formal classroom. Utilizing the amazing talent in the room I added a category to the chalk talk and asked the teachers to provide suggestions to each other.