Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Class Meeting 4: Wednesday February 3, 2010

Dr. Petrosino opened class by asking feedback from students who have already done their observations at Manor New Tech. Then, he starts a PowerPoint lecture that delved deeply into theoretical perspectives on Project Based Learning. It starts with how Jean Piaget’s stage theory model can lead to deficit perspective when viewing students. Professor Petrosino then introduces the model rockets projects he worked on during his graduate studies at Vanderbilt. He showed video evidence of how the projects revealed that a ‘hands-on’ activity didn’t necessarily lead to any actual learning. Then, he showed how, by delving into a design project in which students had to compare model rocket designs, students were able to deeply articulate their thoughts in scientific thinking more than a year after the project had concluded. Professor Petrosino then showed artifacts of students using tools, collecting data, and asking questions; these projects helped students repeatedly reflect and revise their thinking, leading to students really understanding what they were doing, as opposed to a “do only” model of project based learning. Project-based learning in of itself can then be seen from an equity angle, with evidence showing that students who struggled academically because of circumstances outside of school still able to contribute deep and meaningful scientific insight when working on the new, design-based model rocket projects. The big question that PBL opens up is: what kinds of students get the access to play with rockets? Professor Petrosino then summed up his philosophy for PBL teaching, which involves not just caring for students, but caring enough to actually teach them. Student do not need our  sympathy or care; what they do need is rigor and scaffolds that builds real learning. For the last half-hour of class, Ms. Ekberg opens a discussion connecting Standards (TEKS) to the students’ driving questions within their field experience project. Ms. Ekberg briefly showed students how to find school district’s IPG’s, as well as how to  fill in the TEKS for the appropriate topic that the students would be teaching. Students will finish this for homework and then explore how to use this to build driving questions on Monday.

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