Science in America: Neil de Grasse Tyson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MqTOEospfo
Annotations target by end of day: 15-20
Some things to try in planning your discussion.
What are the themes, big ideas, questions, and issues around your topic? What are the essential science ideas associated with your topic? What do you think your classmates already know about the topic? What do you expect their opinions to be? What misunderstandings might they have? What experiences might your classmates have that would connect with some aspect(s) of the topic? What might your classmates know about the science? What mistaken ideas might your classmates have about the important science related to your topic?
- Develop an engaging starter:
Write a short paragraph describing an example or explaining an issue central to your topic. Use this as a starting point. You will need to offer some information, but the goal is not for you to spend much of your time explaining your topic. Rather, you want to get your classmates to explore ideas related to the topic through discussion. You will need to decide if and when you need to offer relevant information. You should anticipate what that might be.
Think of some question you could ask where students would respond with some personal connection.
Show a powerful photograph and ask your classmates to share their reaction.
Use your activity to set the stage for a discussion.
- Conducting the discussion:
Having anticipated your classmates’ knowledge and interest in the topic, what will you do with their responses to your starter?
How will you structure the discussion? Pairs first and then share to the large group? Take volunteers? Ask each participant in turn to offer some idea or question? How might you foster student to student discussion? How will you restate, paraphrase, and summarize? How will you ensure that all students participate?
Create questions you intend to consider. Think of the order in which you might pose them? Think of a response or follow up? How can you ask questions that stimulate thought and discussion? Avoid yes/no questions as they tend to be rhetorical. It is sometimes helpful to ask questions that are answerable first. “What do you think” “What do you imagine the possible answers might be?” can be less threatening than an outright, direct question asking for some factual answer that the recipient does not know.
It is good for you to be well-organized and prepared. Know your topic and know your group. Think of where the discussion might go and how you will manage and bring the thread back on track if the topic starts to get lost.
The best discussion leaders are flexible and responsive and in control. Listening closely, restating, redirecting, following up with a response and new question that develops ideas are all important discussion leader skills.
At one point as the discussion progresses, introduce the idea of solutions or mitigations to the problems associated with your topic. This is a chance to brainstorm. Accept ideas, develop them, avoid unnecessary argument.
Summarize by recalling points made during the discussion. This is a time to show how well you listened to your classmates.