Tuesday, December 07, 2010

ABC Activity before Concept

Thanks to Dr Lee Meadows Ph.D. for drawing my attention to an article written about physics teaching by Arthur Eisenkraft.  try to just read this and replace Physics with Biology, and don't get too bogged down in the maths.

Now before we Biology teachers get too smug, is it not the case that Biology experiments all too often follow the teaching of the concept? When this occurs the students work is no more than an attempt to validate the concepts taught by the teacher, there's no development of an explanation through inquiry. Why are we so reluctant to let the students have a go and explore Biological phenomena without prescriptive rules. Let them  live with a little uncertainty for a while, sort of scientific adventure in which the outcome is far from certain (Mortlock)?

Don't teach the structure of a fruit then have the student dissect and apple. Pose a problem, image an apple flower and then challenge the students to work out (by dissection) how the flower can turn into the fruit. As Eisnekraft so rightly points out this will lend itself so much more to differentiation.

And if not a fruit what about a heart, lung, stem or leaf. As Dr Meadows comments  "Without the ABC approach, students do not see how scientific explanations develop from evidence".  Now there's reason enough to give it a go, live a little, take a risk, its in the IB learner profile!