Euglena inquiry reflection

“Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” ~ Paulo Freire

In my previous post, I described my effort to take a “cookie cutter” lab and make it more inquiry-based.

My students decided to test 7 variables about the Euglena setup that we were working with:

  • distance from the light
  • type of paper covering the Euglena container
  • size of holes in the paper
  • type of material covering the Euglena container (foil)
  • type of light (black light)
  • amount of liquid in the container
  • size of container

Each group planned and carried out their experiment with minimal input from me. Today they gathered their data and put together whiteboards to summarize their results. I asked them to divide their whiteboard up with the following sections:

  • hypothesis
  • claim
  • evidence
  • reasoning

Here is an example of one whiteboard:

We ran out of time to have our culminating discussion, so that will have to wait for tomorrow. From my conversations with the students while they were making their whiteboards today, this inquiry will help set them up well for learning more about the process of photosynthesis.

A few random reflections:

  • I believe the students were more engaged in gathering data than when they just “do a lab”
  • I felt that there was more curiosity and more interesting questions posed today than usual
  • My students are still struggling with reasoning, so I need to keep working on that skill
  • I need to introduce a small group whiteboarding protocol to keep all students involved actively in the creation of the whiteboard
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3 Responses to Euglena inquiry reflection

  1. nainibasu says:

    How about ensuring you have a plenary session next time in order to reflect on what went right/wrong so that the next lesson is even more focused?

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    • Tyler says:

      I agree 100%. Not getting to debrief that day was disappointing. I always struggle with the balance of making sure all groups are ready to contribute to the discussion vs. keeping the group on a schedule. I agree that the reflection on the activity and the process (a meta-reflection if you will) is an important part of the learning cycle.

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  2. Nice work here. Seems like when your students were more in charge of the questions they were more engaged in the learning. Sounds like not everything went perfectly…and that’s definitely part of it. You’ve got tweaks for next time. I ALWAYS have something to do better next time. Curious to know if you notice better comprehension/retention of the photosynthesis content down the road.

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