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Hi Everyone!

Thank you for being such a great group! Your engagement made the day so much more special and got me excited about some of the things I talk about a lot and sometimes forget. You reminded me why I became a teacher.

2020 visit

2019 visit

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Notes on the driverless car lesson plan:

To strengthen, I would consider:

  • Changing the intro from watch a video to a demonstration and discussion using Unanswered Questions and Ethics and THEN the video. For example:
    • Demonstration: Tape out a “road” on the floor, making sure it has twists and turns. Have two students volunteer to be blindfolded. Put them at either end of the road, facing each other and walk towards each other being guided by another student (“Take two steps forward, move two inches to the right, etc.). See if they can safely navigate to the other end of the road. Debrief, discussing what made this harder or easier, and if it felt safer or less safe than just walking.
    • Ask, what is a car? This is shockingly complex. What does something have to have to be a car? Look it up!
    • Why do people feel safer in cars than planes, even though planes are statistically safer?
    • Is it a good idea to develop technology that makes people lose their jobs?
    • Airplanes are often controlled by autopilot. In what ways is it different to have a plane operated by autopilot than to have a car operated by autopilot?
  • “Create” a pros and cons chart seems fairly low level to me. It’s not really creating. Consider having them set up a more dimensional chart, perhaps a four-circle Venn that has segments like “safety”, “cost”, etc., to make the pros and cons more specific. See below for my idea about a Thinking Map that may help.
  • In the parts where it says “hold a class discussion,” I’d consider being more intentional about planning out the questions in order to make sure there were strong questions across a variety of the DC elements.
  • In Part 4, I’d have them move their top 4 pros and cons to another graphic organizer to help them keep their thinking clean and increase their ability to organize the essay.
  • I do not understand how the topic of driverless cars and the persuasive essay reaches “affective” students. Do you mean the TDOE Domain of Affective? I also don’t understand how the complexity of the articles reaches the cognitive domains. What does that mean? In what way?
  • Limiting the DC to Ethics is far too narrow. This is Ethics and Unanswered Questions at the very least.
  • Can you get someone to Skype with the class who actually knows something about self-driving cars? An engineer?
  • I would use Change over Time to create a timeline of the development of human transportation and examine the Trend. Is the trend towards self-driving cars or away? Is the trend inevitable?
  • They should be examining the argumental structure in the articles. What techniques are the authors using to persuade? A couple of mini lessons on persuasive argument would be useful (see Mensa lesson plan).
  • The article written by Eric Peters has his address. Some kids should write their essays as letters to him. All students could have their essays reach a broader audience. Consider gathering them into pro/con/other and self-publish them on Amazon.
  • Could some students write about more complex ideas than pro/con? For instance, who should be responsible when a self-driving car crashes or kills someone?
  • The “Needs” question is too easily answered “Nothing.” How about “What do we still need to know or do before self-driving cars become common?
  • I’d like to see the instructions for the essay be more specific than “make sure to use text-based evidence” – include the DC elements as well. Where’s the rubric? Consider giving more instruction. Constraint creates creativity and better result.

Thoughts on the Root Beer Lesson Plan

  • Again, the “students will engage in a discussion” is too vague. If the questions are not planned, the discussion is at the mercy of happenstance.
  • Act 2: use Patterns, Details, Language of the Discipline and Rules to guide this.
  • Take Actions Option 2: students should conduct a little research – have them design a new label and then A/B test it on people
  • The NAGC domains seem like a stretch to me. Where are the advanced levels of moral judgment? To me, that would need to have a question at this level: Should the government force companies to make it easy to tell how much sugar is in a product? Whose responsibility is it? The consumer, the producer, or the government? The affective issue here really is the sense of fairness and justice and right v. wrong.
  • I try to avoid “What do you notice?” and “What do you wonder?” questions. It’s too easy for a student just to say, “Nothing.”
  • In the second reflection question, “What does this make you feel?” seems odd to me. Was there more or less sugar than anticipated isn’t necessarily going to lead to feeling one way or another. It is likely to lead to recognition rather than emotion. Consider a question such as, “How much more sugar do you think you’ve drunk in your life than you thought you had? How does that make you feel?”
  • I don’t understand the third question. Is it supposed to be “Did seeing the sugar laid OUT”?
  • Tweet out their new labels.
  • This lesson seems strong in its ability to meet the GT students’ strong sense of moral judgment.
  • It could easily be differentiated to compare different sodas and to include juice and Kool-aid. Compare all nutrients, not just sugar.

Thoughts on the Biomedical Engineers Lesson Plan:

  • What they notice and what they wonder should be strengthened.
  • I’m thinking that the toolbox of anticipatory sets could be broadened. All of the three lessons had a video to begin. Videos are fine, but they’re just one way.
  • Use Language of the Discipline to intro those vocab terms
  • Use Unanswered Questions for second question in last section of Day 1.
  • Compare to shark lesson plan (Mensa).
  • Use Thinking Map Flow Map for design process piece.
  • What does it mean to “review yesterday’s activity”? Could that be spelled out a little?
  • Use Bitly to shorten that YouTube link and all other links.
  • Compare the engineering design process to the scientific method. How are the similar/different? Use a double bubble map.
  • The final question “What are smart ways that biomedical engineers can help animals?” seems likely to lead to very narrow responses because the article focused on prosthetics. If you’d like to see students branch out, consider rewording to something like, “In addition to prosthetics, in what other ways do you think biomedical engineers could help animals? Which are the most important animals to help?”
  • Is there a way to have them create a persuasive or informative piece, rather than the writing alone? For example, a public service announcement could be created, or a biomedical company flier advertising what they do to save and help animals.
  • Rank the disability in order of deficit/difficulty to take that to the evaluate level.
  • If you had “real world” materials, what would you make the prosthetic out of?
  • Can you find a prosthetic?

For all of them:

  • Check for typos/grammar/syntax. We often know what we mean, and when others are reading it, it can slow them down when there are errors.
  • Having the same people review as write seems problematic to me.
  • Consider a stronger font than Comic Sans.
  • Really dig deeply into those domains. In what way does the lesson address it?
  • If you’re using DC, really use it. Infuse it. If not, don’t.
Text Box: infrastructure
Text Box: cost
Text Box: safety
Text Box: Conventional cars