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Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities

Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities has 50 remote-ready activities, which work for either your classroom or remote teaching.

Making Sense of Change:
Summer Institute on Hands-On Science
Throughout the Curriculum

(July 25-August 5, 2005)

Day Ten:
Performing Change

...we ourselves are the things we can most easily change,
and so changing ourselves is the quickest and easiest way to get things less wrong.

These are the hardest things I heard this week:
My students need someone to tell them they have a future.
They don't have a sense of hope, or any belief that they can be anything other than what they are.
These are districts no one wants to deal with.

And these are some of the most hopeful:
Cynthia: Young children come in with two hungers: a spiritual hunger and an intellectual hunger.
J.D.: Programming a computer is like telling a story to a child.

Don: There's lots of uncertainty. That's what makes it fun for scientists.
Julie: It's not an experiment, if you know what's going to happen.
Terry: This is an amazing reaction. Nothing actually happened.

Randal: You've got to follow the script. Otherwise you develop bad habits.
Liz: The definition of change is that we don't know the rules.
Saroja: Most of the time, I fail by the rule.

(Then there were some silly things....)
Wil: What is an eating event?
(And why does he call a dish a behavioral arena?)

Kim: There will be no weak-hearted people here.

(Not to mention four new risque vocab words:)

  • orogeny (mountain building)
  • albedo (earth's reflectiveness)
  • fruitavore (a highly specialized eater)
  • invagination (poking in one side)
(Not to mention)
  • gill transplants and
  • the general importance of size...
  • So: what's been happening here?

    In the beginning

    Anne and Wil had a (contradictory? paradoxical?) vision of "constant change"--
    from cosmology to computers,
    from the largest scale to the smallest,
    from the most profound to the most technical,
    from the earliest to the most recent.

    We wanted to explore with a group of interested teachers both ways of

    • stabilizing what we know ("making it sticky") and
    • the inevitability of change ("without getting stuck") on every level:


    In the end? What happened ?
    Let's see....

    Your Performative Assessments

    The challenge:
    Standardized tests are thought to be most effective.
    There is no comparable way of assessing inquiry-based education.

    And the possibility:
    It's not a barrier.
    It's an opportunity for the agent to interact with its environment.
    It changes its environment.

    (Thanks again, Randal.)

    Here's my description/assessment of what happened to me:

    I've heard the word
    bandied about when [teachers] talk:
    butterflies, cocoons, and the like.
    Having spent some time with rocks
    I'd say metamorphism, not metamorphosis
    is the better story.

    Here's a better one yet....

    I started with a rock. My vision got shook up. Jarred. Changed.
    I realized I was not in an isolated or closed system, but an open one--watch out!

    The Door in the Dark
    In going from room to room in the dark
    I reached out blindly to save my face,
    But neglected, however lightly, to lace
    My fingers and close my arms in an arc.
    A slim door got in past my guard.
    And hit me a blow in the head so hard
    I had my native simile jarred.
    So people and things don't pair anymore
    With what they used to pair with before.

    --Robert Frost

    What is a simile?
    What's a metaphor?
    What's the difference?
    What are the parts of a metaphor?
    What's a tenor?
    What's a vehicle?

    To help you remember: the story of the "mobile."

    More recently (Randal? Claudette? remember?):
    Metaphors for Teachers/Classrooms/Students
    " In Table Form

    All as backstory to the revised story of "change,"
    which started with the metaphor of a rock, and is ending
    (for me) with something much more fluid: the simile of
    change like a river....

    Over the past two weeks, I gathered lots "evidence" of this new simile:

    And now: Graduation
    --to the tune of I've got peace like a river,
    with a slight "change" in words:

    "She's got change like a __________
    She's got change like a __________
    She's got change like a __________ in her _____.
    She's got change like a __________
    She's got change like a __________
    She's got change like a __________ in her _____."

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