April 14, 2015

design thinking summer institute - Langevin Science School

In August 2015 a group of 40 dedicated grades 4-12 teachers came together for 3 days to answer the following design challenge:

How might we use instructional design to create effective, engaging and multi-disciplinary learning opportunities for our students?

These teachers designed a learning experience for their students, tried it out and reported back their results. 

Over the next few weeks we will share their stories. 

Minerals and Metals: Changes to the lives of early Canadian explorers and aboriginals.
Ross Howe, Langevin Science School

The project which we tried related ‘Minerals and Metals” in our Social Studies, Math, Science and Language Arts. In our Social Studies student took on roles as Archaeologists, Anthropologists, Botanists and Ecologists. Students were able to research a scenario of the discovery of a three hundred year old site of an Eastern Canadian Aboriginal group. Students gathered evidence and presented findings in a “Science Symposium”. Of particular interest was the use and application of metals and minerals in the aboriginal dig.

In Math, we explored the “Unit Cell” structure of minerals and metals by creating a crystal model and evaluating this model through basic geometry. Students did find creating a model somewhat challenging but manage in general to create the result adequately. Use of higher grade paper would have been beneficial.
In Science, students took the opportunity to explore minerals and metals of Canada and created a brochure about the mineral or metal and are geographic location. What was interesting was the learning which we did regarding the geology of Canada and where the different types of minerals and metals came from. Students learned a direct relationship between geology and geography. 
Finally, in Language Arts students using the idea of “Story Telling” created a story about how European metals and minerals changed the way of life for the aboriginals. What was interesting was the manner in which students had different ideas about how changes took place with “First Contact”. Some saw it as an advantage while others saw it as a negative effect.
The whole process is very interesting and you really must trust the process in order to gain the maximum benefit of the experience. I will continue to work on this idea….Integrated Curriculum.

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