Inquirist’s Cookbook – Storm Lake Edition

I’ll be running an all day workshop in Storm Lake, IA today. Here are the liner notes:


Session 1: Guided Investigation

We’ll use the BP oil spill as a narrative start for a lesson that touches physics, biology, chemistry, and geology standards. We’ll run in parallel a skeleton investigation using unidentified animal remains.

The big idea here is to set the stage with something interesting, e.g.: How to find hidden sills of oil between layers of water. After that, the game of Naked Graphs takes care of differentiation for you. How many different plausible wiggles are there? How many measures? A good example is (wiggle oil thickness, measure output angle of a laser pointer, or wiggle weight on jaw bone, measure indent on food item)

Students then report the findings of measuring-while-wiggling, and they discuss each other’s results while looking for patterns (i.e. book content, like snell’s law, or density, or…)

Session 2: Productive Open Investigation

Now that we’ve identified some content, but not really fleshed it out, ask the students to make the investigations a little crazier. In our parlance, wrap them in bacon (which means your administrators are looking for–but not using–their insurance policies).

Ask students to write a grant.

  • What problem/lameness was present in the previous setup?
  • What new thing will you wiggle, what will you measure?
  • What does the setup look like?
  • Authentic Audience: Who will care about your results (this cannot be the instructor)?
  • What pattern from before are you fleshing out?

Participants will complete this investigation to the best of our abilities today and we’ll parse out what content was touched.

Direct Instruction at this point is totally ok (Lab before Lecture).

Session 3: Mini Bacon-Wrapped Lessons Workshop

We’ll use the BWLW model to do some collaboration.

Here’s the “whiteboard.”

Session 4: Tying it Together with Assessment and Data

What makes something bacon wrapped?

How do you assess when students are working on standards that don’t completely overlap?

How do we manage safety when our students need to be in separate places?

Standards-Based Philosophy: