Days 5-7: 3 Days of Buggy Lab Discussion

THREE DAYS!!! Three days of discussing the Buggy Lab. It really didn’t help that Schoology is down. I totally messed up and made like three assignments of the same assignment in Google classroom. So naturally, we have confusion. Learning is hard enough without our tools malfunctioning. With this hurdle, listening and paying attention have become a tad bit more difficult.

For the first part of the discussion, I asked students to make a graph of their work. They all scaled them the same way so that the differences and similarities can be more easily seen. They had to identify their buggy color, street direction, starting position, and the m value given on Desmos.

They eventually arrived at the following conclusions:

  • linear graph = constant
  • Increasing slopes = positive direction
  • Decreasing slopes = negative direction
  • Red buggies were fast and blue buggies were slow.
  • Slope tells us the speed.
  • y-intercept tells us the starting position.

Day 3, I realized that they knew to say those things, but didn’t completely understand why or what it meant. So Day 7 (3rd day of talking about buggies…) I thought it would be a good goal to try to get them to understand meaning by writing CERs.

My colleagues and I have been thinking and thinking about how to teach our ninth graders how to write CERs. Finally, it came to me. Our students may not understand what we’re doing but they sure do understand photographs! I thought to find a couple of photos that may or may not be clear in what the people in the photograph are emoting. (Here is a link to my slides: CER Slides)

Photo Credit: Buccina Studios via Getty Images from Huffington Post: Why Crying When You’re Happy Actually Makes Snese

Photograph 1: A couple seems to be celebrating a joyful event.

The first photo I chose was purposeful. I Google searched for black and white photos of people showing joy. I picked the one that showed joy, but could be interpreted differently based on the evidence chosen. This particular couple looked happy, but the woman also had a handkerchief to her eye (she could be crying?). It really drove the point that I wanted to make clear the difference between observation and inference. We don’t know if the man was clapping, but we can say that his hands are together.

Narita_Manzanar man off the bus_JapaneseAmericanNationalMuseum
Photo Credit: Barbara Parker Narita Link to photo 

Photograph 2: A man getting off the bus to meet his family at the Manzanar Internment Camp.

I’m not sure if the caption that went with the photo is totally accurate, but it was very much unclear what was happening. The man could be getting on or off the bus. Who were the people in the photograph? Students were asking each other great questions, and trying to come up with great answers. They were excited. When it was time to share, they were even more excited to talk about who was right and wrong. My Block 4 seemed to be bent out of shape because I didn’t pick a right/wrong team. It was also a great chance to talk about how a group of Americans were sent away to live elsewhere because of fear. There were some definitely discomfort in the classroom because of what we were talking about. However, students were beginning to ask great questions such as what is racism and what is not?

Transition to Buggy Lab

Both my colleage, Mrs. F (Mrs. F’s #teach180 blog) and I were super excited at how excited the students were…then we brought it back to the Buggy Lab. It was such a terrible transition. They were not excited to talk about Claims and Evidences in relation to the buggy. It also occurred to us that we had to rewrite the answer key AND the rubric since we weren’t really focusing on Reasoning at all. However, I do think the students did a really great job of trying to keep up and write their own claims and evidences. We recognize that they’re doing something difficult, and we keep improving how we scaffold it for students.

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