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Old 08-26-2013, 05:29 PM
 
27 posts, read 52,196 times
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I am a technology architect who does some volunteer stuff on the side. I recently saw a PBS Frontline episode called "Dropout Nation." Afterwards, I called a local high school with a high dropout rate and offered an idea.




This is a blueprint that attempts to capture an entire year of High School biology. There are five layers (4 + AP). In the first quarter, teacher walks through level one, which is only the most basic stuff. In quarter 2, the second layer is added and blueprint is taught at a more detailed level. Think they call this scaffolding. By quarter 4, the students have seen all the biology concepts 3 times and just need to learn/add the last layer. Each time a layer is learned, previous layers are reinforced.

Right now, whatever is covered in September is not reviewed until right before the end-of-year state test. With scaffolding, information is fresh right before the test. And the students can "visualize" the curriculum as they take the test.

Couple other things... Teachers can blow up any portion of the blueprint for a lesson. Can produce 8.5" x 11" handouts of the wire frame, so students can add the labels themselves. They are also talking about introducing this blueprint in (late Spring of 9th grade) Environmental Science to prepare students for the Biology course (sophomores). Layer 5 is AP level stuff.

Would love to know if any teachers have some ideas on how this could be executed. Think the high school is VERY open to ideas on how to make this work!

Here is a PDF of the AP (level 5) blueprint https://files.secureserver.net/0sdlmq6lDB1ufx (plots to 3' by 12' and is ~6MB). And here is the level 4 version https://files.secureserver.net/0sXJNYIUghIgLk

Thanks in advance!!

PS: Working on two more ideas. Classroom management using game theory and an idea for modernizing curriculum.
Attached Thumbnails
High School Teacher's Toolkit-hsbiology.jpg  

Last edited by Edu.Architect; 08-26-2013 at 05:38 PM..
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,394 posts, read 31,166,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edu.Architect View Post
I am a technology architect who does some volunteer stuff on the side. I recently saw a PBS Frontline episode called "Dropout Nation." Afterwards, I called a local high school with a high dropout rate and offered an idea.




This is a blueprint that attempts to capture an entire year of High School biology. There are five layers (4 + AP). In the first quarter, teacher walks through level one, which is only the most basic stuff. In quarter 2, the second layer is added and blueprint is taught at a more detailed level. Think they call this scaffolding. By quarter 4, the students have seen all the biology concepts 3 times and just need to learn/add the last layer. Each time a layer is learned, previous layers are reinforced.

Right now, whatever is covered in September is not reviewed until right before the end-of-year state test. With scaffolding, information is fresh right before the test. And the students can "visualize" the curriculum as they take the test.

Couple other things... Teachers can blow up any portion of the blueprint for a lesson. Can produce 8.5" x 11" handouts of the wire frame, so students can add the labels themselves. They are also talking about introducing this blueprint in (late Spring of 9th grade) Environmental Science to prepare students for the Biology course (sophomores). Layer 5 is AP level stuff.

Would love to know if any teachers have some ideas on how this could be executed. Think the high school is VERY open to ideas on how to make this work!

Here is a PDF of the AP (level 5) blueprint https://files.secureserver.net/0sdlmq6lDB1ufx (plots to 3' by 12' and is ~6MB). And here is the level 4 version https://files.secureserver.net/0sXJNYIUghIgLk

Thanks in advance!!

PS: Working on two more ideas. Classroom management using game theory and an idea for modernizing curriculum.
Seriously, I would LOVE something like this to put up on my chemistry walls. I have a principal who does not see how things fit together in science and my students often don't realize where we're going until much later in the year. My principal keeps telling me to cut content and teach deeper. He doesn't get that I have to teach a lot of content before we can go deeper because going deeper pulls from multiple concepts.

Are you planning on doing one for chemistry? This is a nice visual of where we've been and where we're going. I think this would also help with end of year crunching as it would serve as a reminder of what we've studied all year. I find that students forget just how much we cover and are almost blind sided when it's time to study for the final.

Good work.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:48 PM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
15,299 posts, read 11,038,211 times
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That is a seriously awesome visual.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:37 AM
 
27 posts, read 52,196 times
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Default Chemistry

I am going to do a chemistry version.

I will share a little about the genesis of these blueprints. My daughter, many years ago (they grow up way too fast!) was getting ready for a science test in middle school. Periodic table was bit challenging. I put my IT hat on and just designed a little infographic for her to use as a study aid.



This periodic table graphic is a little one (only 11x17!) https://files.secureserver.net/0snA3KbuZCIAhl

This did the trick and was very helpful. Then a few years went by (freshman in high school) and I started getting questions about how different sciences fit together. Actually, think she asked me about matter and elements. I had no idea! After a few more embarrassing moments (not having any answers!), I decided to apply the full blueprint treatment to answer her questions.



This one attempts to explain all of science in a single blueprint. I even ventured into quantum mechanics for grins. This blueprint has to be plotted https://files.secureserver.net/0swecPC3qkr5sa

These two graphics went over extremely well. So, when I saw the PBS show, I thought about the old science blueprint, plotted it and took it into to show the teachers. This led to the biology blueprint.

When we sat down to plan out the biology placemat, school admitted they really struggle with connecting the concepts. Mentioned drill and kill. End of year, the kids know all the definitions, but not how they fit together into a cohesive story. And, of course, the state test has some tricky questions that test the ability to make these connections.
Attached Thumbnails
High School Teacher's Toolkit-generalscience.jpg   High School Teacher's Toolkit-periodictable.jpg  
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:54 AM
 
3,563 posts, read 4,693,497 times
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It'd be nice if it was large enough (super size poster) so that when students let their eyes wonder, they could be looking at/reading something that has to do with the subject matter.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:45 AM
 
27 posts, read 52,196 times
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Default Blueprint can plot larger...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everdeen View Post
It'd be nice if it was large enough (super size poster) so that when students let their eyes wonder, they could be looking at/reading something that has to do with the subject matter.
Agree. They are already monster size, but with so much packed in there, could even be bigger! The biology one is currently at 12 feet long, taking up an entire wall. Because they are vector-based, the blueprint can be doubled or even tripled in size. This allows a teacher to take, say the cell section only, make that 7+ feet long, hang it on the front board and everyone can see it... huge type! There could be a little blueprint rack at the front of the class with 30-50 different plots, each focusing on smaller areas of the overall blueprint.

One of the things I am really hoping for is that biology can be taught non-linear. If we are discussing the cell and a kid asks about (example) evolution, the teacher can answer the question using the blueprint. Almost like, ask me anything about biology and I will answer it. You don't have to wait until next month/next chapter.

Kids could even bring in (random/interesting) biology articles on a Friday and the teacher could answer questions about any biology topic using the blueprint.

PS: Even more exciting for me... biology does not change (much). This can be used year after year. And as the teachers present the blown up versions, they are sure to add notes and more detail. I can take those at the end of the year and create a version 2.0, using all those best practices.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
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Seriously, this is way over my non-scientific brain. You created these diagrams on the side?

We'll leave the scrutiny as to accuracy and functionality up to the science teachers on the board, but count me as impressed.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:53 PM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
15,299 posts, read 11,038,211 times
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Elements 114 and 116 have names now: 114 - flervium (Fl) and 116 - livermorium (Lv). Element 115 is likely to get a real name soon, as it was just announced today that it's existence has been confirmed by GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Germany.

I just love these!!!!!!
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:21 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,793 posts, read 17,544,302 times
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I love it myself--teach special ed high school and it would really guide me in knowing which concepts to touch on, since I'm not science trained.
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:29 PM
 
27 posts, read 52,196 times
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I made the two changes to the periodic table. Updated version here > https://files.secureserver.net/0sDJPulvkwItA5 Thanks Oldhag1!

I had a great meeting with the headmaster of a private school this morning. I offered them all my work product. They offered to help with accuracy and breaking future blueprints into layers. This will relieve some pressure on the inner city school that already has a lot on it's plate!! My focus is totally on inner city, but can use all the help I can get!

He also had a GRAND idea for my game theory work. He is going to try and set me up with the local university's PhD program and see if one of their students wants to do a dissertation on this idea.

Another idea we talked about is students getting directly involved in the process. Because the blueprint is electronic, it's possible to attach a hyperlink to each major (blueprint) term. A student really interested in Synthetic Biology could put together a short video and we would attach it to that spot on the blueprint. As teacher is going through the lesson, clicks on synthetic biology (label) and shows a video put together by a fellow student(s). And these videos can be reused for years!

Finally, I got a big thumbs up on an idea to help modernize curriculum. Element 115 is an outstanding example. This is a big deal and should be celebrated in classrooms all over America.

We are working on a idea to scan popular news sites for articles that match the blueprint (e.g. biology) curriculum. Each day, teacher would get an alert email on anything juicy being reported in the (mainstream) media that applies to a high school subject.

The word "juicy" was carefully chosen!

This article is the top voted Element 115 on the subject in Reddit.
This one made the front page of Google News.

We want to start with what's already popular in the public domain. It's easy to find a scientific article in "The Physical Review Letters," but that will bore a kid to tears. So, instead of starting with a subject like the periodic table, we collect up all the popular, consumer-friendly (science) articles from around the web and then match them (on a 30 point scale) to one of 30-40 different sections on the blueprint.

Teacher can use these current events to reinforce teachings. A great example is Alex Rodriguez. Students can learn about cells by understanding A-Rod's use of PEDs. Keep it fresh and highly relevant. Kid goes home and explains A-Rod to parents. They are super impressed!

We just need to filter all these articles, find the right ones, organize them by blueprint section and deliver them to teachers in a timely fashion -- as they happen!

Last edited by Edu.Architect; 08-28-2013 at 12:48 PM..
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