Before class we got an article from today’s newspaper… an article on Blue-Green Algae…

Blue-green algae Democrat_and_Chronicle_20150526_A05_0

Out of the Classroom… into another type of classroom….Genesee Valley Park at the Boathouse

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Topic of the Day… Models….done on our personal sized white boards… here are a few:

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by Dr. Sean

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by Dan

Graffiti Board….visualizations which come to mind when you hear the word: model

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Tingyu visualized a cell and cell structure

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Using his graffiti letter and lingo… Dan cleverly wrote “Represent”

For the written portion of the “As you Enter” assignment…folks were asked to author a syntactic model, specifically a metaphor, using a science tool as a metaphor for oneself. JoAnn gave this example they were given:

Tool-Microscope: microscopes can give us a view of normally unseen vistas allowing us to discover what is hidden.

Metaphor-Looking at you with microscope eyes, I see your hidden nature.

Ian-used a calorimeter (an instrument for measuring energy released) to talk about himself, he wrote: I know I’m overheating out here. I am a calorimeter.

Dan wrote: She studied Chemistry with a bunsen-burning desire that heated the room.

Sharon’s metaphor: I am a coverslide to your knowledge, keeping ideas and inquiry restricted to the topic we are discovering

Xiaoyu drew a caterpillar and a butterfly and then wrote: When I survive this course, I will transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly!

Read-Aloud: a passage from Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, read by Sean.  Before starting, Sean asked the listeners to pay attention to another type of syntactic model used in the passage… the analogy.  Here is a link to the passage he read:

Cells A Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson p472

Students were reminded of safety rules and then sent out to explore the Genesee River. They were tasked with making observations; taking photos; sketching; and recording questions that arise.

Just as they arrived back to the picnic table, big splats of rain started to fall… the folks that are in charge of the Crew Teams and Boathouse, generously let us move into their office during the rainstorm.  Whew!  Crisis averted, we didn’t have to rush back to campus.  In case you have an interest, there is a free family event at the Boathouse June 6th from noon until 4:00.  Check out the flyer: (sorry, I don’t know how to flip this, the original is in the right orientation, but when I moved it to here, it got rotated, maybe someone can tell me how to fix it)

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We had a quick share of our observations and questions:  several folks noted some garbage in and along the river and wondered what the effect the garbage had on the water; they noticed all kinds of wild life and evidence of wild life and wondered about the impact of the water on the wild life and the wild life on the water; they noted that there was a lot of traffic on the bridges over the river and in the park itself and wondered about the impact of the traffic on the water quality; they noted the park’s grass and wondered what chemicals were used on the grounds and if what they are putting on the lawns was getting into the water; they were intrigued with the drain pipe entering the river and wondered about human’s impact on the river

From there we had a lively discussion about the readings. Sharon started the conversation by posing two questions to the group that she wanted some input on: if model-based inquiry truly is a point of access for science learners, she wanted to know… access for who and aren’t those points going to be different depending on the individual learner? Daniel thought that different learning styles would benefit from the use of different types of models. Dan models can afford accessibility; dynamic model production better represents Nature of Science and goes beyond just giving information.

Sharon wondered about the statement that some background information was needed before model making began.  There were some great ideas that followed: Daniel said that it was important to revisit and revise models over time; Dan said it was important to connect work/demos/activities to concepts that could be added to the models.  JoAnn had to interrupt asking folks to remember that a starting point would be the background knowledge students had…that accessing prior knowledge is an important first step.

As the conversation continued about the ways model making exemplified Nature of Science (collaborative, built over time, interactive, fluid and multi-faceted, Mike added this to the conversation…use of models and model making is a “curricular mindset” vs. a “curricular event”.

The discussion finished with Sean commenting on discussion protocol.  Good use of all of the discussion protocols… for next time be sure to be ready to cite the sources vs. saying “one of the readings”.   Sharon suggested we add another box to the template where students would write the title, author and a statement about the content.  This would act as a reminder of the source.

Students were asked to form two work groups.  Each group was challenged to discuss a plan of action-what data would be collected; how it will be collected; how it would be recorded and to set a goal for the day’s data collection. When the group completed their initial brainstorming session, they were to get instructor approval and then go start data collection… here are some photos of the groups in action, and while they were busy, the instructors took a moment to get a selfie…

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Instructor selfie… class selfie next time

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We got into the cars and headed to the next stop… downstream … Cornhill landing.  No time for data collection, but time to make observations and ask questions!

Ending with a what did we do? why did we do it? what practices did we use? discussion, a quick reminder that seminar would start at 3:30 and it would be held at Upper Falls… no time for closure… but it was announced that the closure activity would be moved to the next class… the written part of the “As you enter” activities.