Here’s a picture of our results from our final group brainstorming session with Rio, Emilio, and Theresa.
We eventually honed our original POVs. For our “enhancing group collaboration” domain:
Students learn better if the classroom is not a coffee shop.
And for our “making mathematical models understandable”:
Students understand a model if they have to take it apart and build it back up again, like a lego house.
We explicitly decided to tackle the questions:
How do we encourage students to teach each other?
How might we better communicate the concept of pressure in gasses?
Some of the brainstorming highlights for our “encouraging collaboration” were:
- Some sort of “knowledge economy;” how do we get students to trade explanations with each other?
- Grading on explanations; have part of a students grade depend on how well they explained a concept.
- Ponzi knowledge; allow people to work together and attribute their results to other people; somehow encourage students to have their explanation used the most.
- “Group annotated handouts;” allow all students to take notes on a homework PDF and easily share questions and explanations.
For our “explaining pressure” work:
- A “manipulatable equation” where the symbols can be stretched and squashed and how their value effects the value of other variables is shown by others’ sizes changing.
- Using an analogy to buoyancy. Unfortunately it’s not physically perfect.
- Make a game where you need to achieve some physical goal which requires pressure to be a specific value; have a balloon blocking a door, and you have to shrink it to get past.
- Analogies work best when students can relate, so let’s create an experience in the classroom, so everyone can relate, then use the analogy; like bake muffins and have them rise, then relate to gas expanding.
We were really inspired by the “manipulatable equation” and are planning on prototyping some of the ideas surrounding the manipulation interactions, goal-driven problems using it, and relating the equation to a physical system. The “economy of knowledge” ideas was also very interesting, but we are having difficulty coming up with specific implementations that don’t drastically mess with the concept of grading and that can be incorporated into a class simply.