Like Pulling Teeth

[caption id="attachment_910" align="alignleft" width="300"] By jfraser[/caption]

I am always slightly amused at the stark difference between my freshman classes and my AP classes. Certainly there are a number of reasons that could be the cause of my amusement. Presently, and chief among them, is the scramble for grades. You see, I have an agreement with my classes. Every week I pull two or three names out of a bag. If your name is pulled you are the weekly reporter. A completed submission for the weekly reporter equals a dropped test grade. Kind of a big deal. It takes freshmen classes a little while to grasp the gravity of the opportunity. My AP classes, on the other hand, scramble over the top of one another to snatch the opportunity. To be fair, we have had some FANTASTIC submissions from my Earth Science classes during these first 9 weeks, and with the dawn of a new quarter I am looking forward to several more to come.

This past unit I tried something different. The focus of the unit was they myriad ways that humans use and abuse the surface of the earth. At the beginning of the unit I assigned each student a specialty (mining, urbanization, agriculture, and fossil fuels) and built teams that contained a member representing each specialty. For their particular topic each student was responsible for understanding why we need their particular land use, how their land use damages the earth, and what can be done to reduce the damage. Through the course of the unit the teams worked together on various tasks, presentations, and lessons. For the final assessment, each team was to figure out how to develop 900 acres of land and answer questions related to their development. Overall, I think the approach worked better than I had intended, and I hope to put together more learning opportunities like it in the future.

One thing that I had not intended to do was write this much. I do want to recognize and feature the one submission I got for this week's weekly review. Writing about this past week (Oct. 1-5) is Sharvaun Maitland.

Sharvaun Writes:

This week we learned about Urbanization, Mining, Agriculture, and Fossil Fuels. Urbanization is the physical growth of a urban area for example a city. Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological features from the earth, the things we get from mining is also used for technology, jewelry and more. Agriculture is farming, cultivating the land, raising crops and other things we do to get food. Fossil Fuels are the things we use for energy, for example electricity it is aslo natural gas, oil, and other things we use to operate machines. This week has been a great week and that is what we learned in class this week.