This week we were prompted to write about how we can get students to investigate their own questions. So, being an overachiever, I decided to PRACTICE it rather than just WRITE about it.
Because we’re working through a unit on human reproduction, I think its important for students to be able to question and have access to evidence-based information. The first step to finding that though is having a classroom culture that nurtures and encourages questions. In my last placement, I created a question wall and used questions to frame each day’s lesson- displaying questions with students’ names on the board and using their questions to deepen understanding through mini-assignments.
“Doesn’t being in the sun too long cause cancer?”-Ari
I think validation of questions is important. Kids need to know that what they’re wondering is something that can be explored and explained… maybe. I brainstormed a little bit about having a question box that students could ask anything in (see Alyssa’s AHHHMAZING question box turned Padlet answer key), but ultimately didn’t land on that as a solution for my classes. I think providing answers is really important but its even more important to give students the skills to find the answers themselves.
So cue step one in seeking answers. This week, we did a lab about Plan B. We spent the first part of the week talking about fertilization and embryo implantation and BOTH classes asked how Plan B worked. I had no idea.
“Wait, what does Plan B do? Doesn’t it kill the zygote?” -Sami
So I googled it! And found some answers along with some not-doctor-approved talk about killing fetuses. And two days later, I shared findings with students by creating a hormone lab for them to use what we know about ‘normal’ menstrual cycle hormones and figure out how Plan B manipulates them. Through the work they’re doing, they don’t just get the answer, they have to use knowledge we have (the hormonal influence on the menstrual cycle) to apply it to something they might find if they google Plan B (releases synthetic progesterone) to figure out the answer (Plan B, because it contains a progesterone-like compound, delays ovulation but doesn’t kill an already fertilized egg).
The students are about halfway through the lab, but many seemed interested (in everything but the graphing) and I’m excited to see what conclusions they can draw!