TAP Day 6: 2Qs Assessment, Journals and Animal Farts

January 11, 2010 at 8:54 PM Leave a comment

A boy-special, red-letter day: “Animal farts” was the right answer on the first question of today’s little 2 question weekly test. Other less accurate but still intriguing ideas about a cause of global warming : “Air is getting denser”, “Clogged up atmosphere, pollution” “The greenhouse makes sunlight more effective”. “Clouds cause warmth to stay in and stay out”. Several still think ozone traps the heat in. One young man sounded great until he started talking about how after the light warms up dark surfaces, it reflects off greenhouses.

So the lesson for me is, once again, just because I tell ‘em, show ‘em, make a really cool PowerPoint and THINK I’ve made it totally clear, they don’t get it en mass unless they interact with it themselves. Don’t you hate it when the research is right? But before plunging into total self-recrimination, the majority DID mention the CO2 and/or methane connection. Hence animal farts.

At the end of the 2Q, they ask me questions which often reveal where they are with the concepts.

Fearful questions:

“When is the world supposedly going to end based on scientist’s predictions?”

“How long until it’s too late for us to do anything and how long until the earth is uninhabitable?”

Nature of science and belief questions:

“Why do some people think global warming is a myth?” (several similar to this)

Skeptical questions:

“Is there any other way global warming could happen without the help of people?” (several).

“If I just give to a random fund raiser for a problem in the world, how will I know that the money is really going to a cause?” (great set-up for Part C “Choosing an action”)

Innovative and insightful questions:

“Could we extract CO2 out of the air?”

“Is overpopulation of humans a major cause of global warming?”

“Sunspots can change the climate. So how does the sun get the sun spots?” This one stumps me… Anyone out there know? Or will have to ask MY dad who will take it back to first principals (he’s a physicist).

And finally, in their weekly journals, they tell me how they are (parties, divorces, sleep-overs or just “fine”), and where they are with their project.

“Mad and sad b/c I don’t have a TAP partner and everyone’s taken.” – I totally get that. Asked them how I could help. But in the end, it’s a social reality that goes on into adulthood. I can’t and shouldn’t rescue her, just support her and believe that she’ll be great as a solo act for this project.

Most are more upbeat: “I am working with ___ ____, and we are both really excited. We were thinking about doing childrens health, specifically Malaria in Africa. But we still don’t know”

Or even ecstatic: “We found this amazing website (www.savethewhales.org). It has information, videos and you can even adopt a whale! We also want to memorize a “Whale rap” video we found on You Tube. We even found a whale hat! I’m really excited because we can even go on a boat and see whales! (That is if our parents let us! :-))” Entries like this are why everyone is jealous of middle school teachers, right?

“I learned last week that there is hope for solving the problems of the world. I think it’s a great goal that is impossible to fully achieve. Hopefully I will be wrong though.” From the pen of a 12 year old boy…

Just like the rest of us, the images and issues that stay with them are visceral:

“I care about hunger because I think about being hungry when I miss lunch, but they’re some people who eat nothing for days on end.” Responses like this leave me all teary-eyed at the sweetness of children.

“Clean up beaches so animals don’t get hurt… for example getting their head stuck in a 6 pack can plastic thing.”

And here’s a good note to end on:

“I feel like I can make a difference and help our world and if we all do a good job, then we could all make a big change! I’m so excited and ready to start this project.” Well, amen to that :-).


Entry filed under: Assessment and grading, Creativity, Curiosity, Environmental Education, TAP Curriculum. Tags: , , , , .

TAP Day 5: What’s right with the world? TAP Day 6 contd.: Act. 5 – A bit of research, cause-and-effect diagrams, and The Relationship Game.

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