Clearly, I hadmany difficulties in completing this assignment. Obvious problems are that it is July so finding“students” is trying as well as the fact that this subject matter is not my forte. In addition, I wassomehow just miraculously able to view the video. I manually installed QuickTime, and it worked forother applications, just not this one until now! I was (until now) able to use the Rotating EarthSimulation, however, which I now see was the key element- not the video at all (with the exception ofLansing weather patterns). I was going to have my boyfriend, who is a high school teacher, pretend tobe a kid (which would honestly, not have been so difficult for him!) But then, I convinced three of mycousins to come over. My cousin, Ali, recently earned her license and will find any excuse to driveanywhere. Ali is 17, Caleb is 16, and Rose is 14. They were my “class” for the purposes of implementingthe Model Lesson Plan and worked together as one group may in a more real setting. They are all highschool students, so also an additional item to consider in comparison to the suggested 5th grade level. I used the suggested 24 Hour Temperature Lesson plan and began by asking what they think is the coldest part of the day, and similar to the cited responses in John Bell’s transcript, they agreed that the middle of the night was the coolest, with the exception of Caleb, who insisted that it takes time to get colder. They quarreled a bit, the way siblings would, but decided to compromise with a majority rules voting and the girls answer was used and they said, “Midnight.” I directed them to http://mltoolbox.org/wx/earth_rotate.swf to view the simulation. As soon as they saw the Rotating earth simulation, Caleb threw out theexpected, “I told you so!” The rest of the lesson continued as might be expected, and I followed thelesson plan as closely as possible. Problems of teaching the lesson were that I taught family members, who know I do not teachscience, in a spare bedroom (my “office”) of my home. I felt at a disadvantage initially because thelesson was out of my comfort zone for content. I was worried that they may ask questions that Icouldn’t answer. There are two reasons why this didn’t actually happen. First, they are very wellbehaved kids and for the most part, quiet and shy. Second, Caleb attends Catholic Central and is verysmart. He knew a great deal because he completed a large assignment or unit on global warming thispast spring. He knew that the earth takes time to heat up and cool down, in addition to understandingthat a few degrees warmer each year, truly does affect us but that it takes time. I asked them if their teachers used the Internet very often at their schools and they mostlyanswered with “Sometimes.” I asked if they liked it, and of course, they said those are usually theirfavorite teachers (that use the Internet) or when they learn a lot (through technology). A potential problem, but unforeseeable, would be problems with the school network (Internet)or computer issues (i.e. sound). Other more foreseeable problems would be kids whipping through the
assignment and visiting other sites, students talking, or forgetting their log in or passwords. All of theseproblems would, however, be manageable. Technology use was, from my perspective, not extremely necessary. I think that the simulationcould have been done with a globe and a ball (sun) with explanations for heat and times of the day oryear. Also, I think that the Lansing Weather could have just been a hand out to be used as a reference.However, in the end, my cousins/”students” were engaged fully and most likely because of theintegration of the Internet. If I made them come over and pulled out a globe and gave them handouts,not only would they have thought I was crazy (in July) but would likely have also been bored! Theobjective of understanding energy-flow as it relates to the temperature of the Earth over a 24-hourperiod, and were able to reason about the warmest and coldest times of the year was met. Could ithave been met without the Internet? Well, by me, today? No. By another more experienced, scienceteacher? Yes, most likely. However, the use of technology was more engaging and more visual as therotation, time and temperature changed and was able to be seen changing as it happened. Fortunately for kids, I won’t ever teach this lesson again. But if I did, and was in my ownclassroom, I would start the class off by putting a pot of water on the stove to it boil. (I have 6 kitchensin my classroom because I also teach Foods & Nutrition). I’d start asking questions to the students, thenturn the lights on and off as a comparison to the water boiling and continue the discussion until thewater boiled as to engage them and get them “thinking”. Then refer them to groups and computers tocomplete the rest of the lesson and assessment. Although I am not a science teacher, I may actuallybenefit from this lesson and use it in my class when we talk about global warming and our responsibilityas good citizens of this planet. I would not have considered it until Caleb expressed how much he knewin connecting this to global warming.