While I am writing about teaching strategies, I might as well toss out another favorite. I love to give students a complex challenge and a seemingly impossibly short amount of time in which to complete said task. I've found that it generally raises the bar, forces students to think on their feet, and challenges them to quickly synthesize information. This past week I challenged my APES students to create a newscast explaining CFCs and their impact on the atmosphere. Students were given the duration of class (60 minutes) to complete the assignment. Once released the students set to work and I wandered around and watched. As a teacher it is really fun to observe students as they try to work within specific time constraints. It forces efficiency and creative implementation. Actually, rather than babble further, let me just show you one of the videos that was produced.
This week, reflecting on the week that was and progress through project restoration is Daria Coffield and Colleen Yang. Enjoy their posts, and if you have any favorite challenges that you've give your students. Please chime in.
Throughout this week, our class activities were focused on the importance of the ozone layer and smog. As groups we conducted entertaining ways of representing how the stratospheric ozone layer forms and what the addition of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) do to create smog. It not only was enjoyable to watch the singing groups describe the process but also was a help to remember how NO and O make O3. Seeing and hearing those presentations helped me to visualize the process much more clearly. Another activity we carried out, was making newscast videos. The objective was to make people aware of CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) and its effects in the atmosphere. We learned that these anthropogenic greenhouse gases deplete the ozone and harm humans by triggering a higher risk of skin cancer. In conclusion, I found that the lessons and group activities this week were creative and productive.
This week in APES we wrapped up the second phase of our Project Restoration. After mapping out all of the damage caused by our cities, we are now focusing on rebuilding and redesigning them to reach a goal of an eco friendly environment. We’ve also been preparing for our pollution test scheduled for Thursday, April 17th. We’ve learned about the numerous ways countries have tried to reduce emissions in the past and some of the more recent steps they have taken in order to reach emission goals. Groups have incorporated some of these strategies into some of our own projects as we collaborate to find the best ways to maximize energy output without increasing energy inputs and pollution. As we are nearing the end of the semester, students are hard at work studying AP review material and attending various sessions to prepare us for the feared AP exam.