I had thrown general materials for the Exploration phase in bins throughout the room. Materials included different types of paper, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, LEDs, sticker LEDs, batteries, copper wire, tape and scissors. Teachers were then given the challenge: "How can you make the light light up?" I showed them an example of a drawing I did in my notebook that had a LED lit up. However, they did not see the back page of how it was made.
I encouraged teachers to work in partners or a group of 3. None of the teachers had used copper tape before. I walked around and actively observed the conversations. I saw collaboration. I heard teachers naming the materials or giving a name to the item to help define it. After about 20-30 minutes, they had to stop.
Groups then shared their creations, what they discovered and what they had questions about. I then asked, "How did you feel while going through this experience?" Just like students, answers such as fun, confusion, uncertainty, motivation, perseverance, and wanting to understand why something did not work came up. "These are the very types of skills and thinking that can benefit your students on how to approach problems in any subject," I replied.
Teachers were then given further information on how circuits worked. I could see some of the connections from the initial making experience to the new information on some faces.
With this new understanding, teachers were then asked to take this knowledge and create a card or drawing that would light up. By continuing to incorporate this level of creativity and option, participants were more engaged and had more ownership with their project .
Overall, I was very pleased with the day. There was success with bringing teachers through how to conduct a 5 E's lesson and address NGSS concepts while at the same time incorporating making, which really drove key concepts home with them, along with the understanding that this type of learning experience can really benefit their students.