This NSTA Distance Learning Teacher Tip focuses on opportunities for students to share ideas. Student ideas are resources for learning for the classroom community. Even when we are physically isolated, having opportunities to “talk” with classmates and share ideas is critical to students being able to make sense of their work, receive and provide peer feedback, and refine or revise thinking. In this Teacher Tip example, students are working together in small groups to make sense of a phenomenon. The teacher uses Google Slides to provide an opportunity for students to make their thinking public so student ideas can be engaged with, built upon, and revised. Small groups have an opportunity to engage in a virtual gallery walk to see the thinking of others in the class, and the teacher can “converse” with individual groups through the comment feature. In this way, the shared thinking becomes a resource for learning, and the teacher can facilitate conversations and ask questions virtually.
This example is using the NSTA Daily Do, How do asteroids cross Earth’s path?, as the context for learning. The template for this Google Slide presentation is provided. However, teachers can use a similar approach with other phenomena as they facilitate a key component of the contemporary research on equitable opportunities to learn: student opportunities to share ideas, engage in talk, and use science and language together to learn science.
In the How do asteroids cross Earth's path? task, students experience the Chelyabinsk meteor phenomenon and engage in modeling and use the thinking tools of cause and effect to try to explain how an asteroid from the asteroid belt becomes a meteor on Earth.
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