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Element 1

Element 1: Teachers know their subject content and how to teach that content to their students.

 I believe that it is crucial that teachers are equipped with detailed content knowledge, and appropriate strategies to teach that content, in order to successfully assist students to meet curriculum requirements and to engage students in quality learning. I believe that all teachers need to be willing lifelong learners in order to be equipped with such knowledge and strategies and therefore should take up every possible opportunity to engage in further learning whether that be through self initiated research, collaboration, further study or in-service training.

I have detailed knowledge of NSW syllabus documents, subject content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, knowledge of subject and key learning area integration, competence with and knowledge about integrating ICTs and pedagogical content knowledge across each of the key learning areas. I have demonstrated the above knowledge through the development number of units of work. For example, I created a unit of work for Early Stage One children entitled "Seeds: dead or alive?". Within this unit I have included evidence of background research on both the scientific concepts to be explored, including a researched description of the most recent scientific understandings and descriptions of what seeds are to inform and expand the teacher's own understanding of the concept - the inclusion of such information shows an awareness that knowledge is not static but dynamic. My background research also included researched descriptions of children's common naive, alternate or misconceptions about seeds and suggested practice for assisting children to overcome such misconceptions (link to Element 2 - teachers know their students and how they learn). Furthermore, in this unit I have included how lesson activities link to syllabus outcomes and indicators, the quality teaching framework and  DET scientific BIG IDEAS; develop scientific literacy; develop scientific and technological skills; are safe; and integrate ICT in each lesson through the development of a SMART board resource and accompanying CD ROM designed collaboratively by the students and the teacher. In addition, lessons within the unit are sequenced using the 5E's scientific inquiry model, where each lesson builds upon the previous one and scaffolds student learning and understanding of concepts. [INCLUDED EVIDENCE: "Seeds - dead or alive?": unit rationale, unit outcomes and unit at a glance]; [Other possible evidence for use in meeting this element: Wiki unit of work resource on the effects or smoking (link: http://no-smoking-stage-2-unit-of-work.wikispaces.com); 3rd year practicum reflection assignment - showing linked lessons across 3 KLAs and also different grouping strategies; 2nd practicum assignments demonstrating different pedagogies].

I will continue to develop my subject content and pedagogical knowledge and how to put that knowledge into practice in a quality teaching and learning environment. In order to do this I need to keep learning! and I need to ensure that I take up the numerous opportunities to indeed practice developing these skills during my upcoming practicum and internship.

EVIDENCE:

 

Rationale

Seeds – Dead or Alive?

This unit of work is intended for use with an Early Stage One class. As such, all learning experiences have been designed around Early Stage One syllabus outcomes, namely those in the Living Things and Investigating strands of the NSW Board of Studies K-6 Science and Technology Syllabus (Board of Studies NSW, 2000, pp. 24, 34). 

Children often develop naïve, alternate or misconceptions about scientific concepts (Worth, 2000, p. 6-7). This unit considers some of the common naïve conceptions young children hold about living things, encompassing learning experiences which will challenge Early Stage One children in their current understandings and provide them with opportunities to develop appropriate and correct understandings of concepts. 

In particular, this unit seeks to challenge children’s naïve understandings about seeds. Specifically, the common conceptions that seeds are not living because only moving things are alive, and that seeds come from packets (Berthelsen, 1999, pp. 13-19; Driver, Squires, Rushworth and Wood-Robinson, 1994, p. 19). 

Research suggests that in order to support children’s development of scientific conceptions, teachers must accept children’s views and allow them the opportunity to investigate and explore their knowledge of concepts through trials and experiments guided by their own predictions and questions in order to come to more appropriate understandings (Worth, 2000, pp. 30-31). Additionally, research claims that in order for students to effectively participate in modern society that they must be scientifically literate, that is, they must have "the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions in order to understand and help make decisions about the natural world and the changes made to it through human activity", (OECD, 2000, p. 10). 

This unit therefore incorporates learning opportunities which allow students to develop investigate and question their ideas, and draw conclusions based on the results of their investigations in safe, non-threatening ways which encourage significant learning of high intellectual quality (NSW DET, 2003, pp. 10-15).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unit Outcomes

Seeds – Dead or Alive?

Key Syllabus Outcomes (Board of Studies NSW, 2000, pp. 24, 34):

LT ES1.3 – Identifies ways in which living things are different and have different needs 

INV ES1.7 – Investigates their surroundings by observing, questioning, explaining and reporting 

Unit Indicators

-        communicates prior knowledge about seeds

-        observes and explores different seeds and where they are found using the five senses

-        suggests reasons for why seeds are living

-        draws and labels seeds

-        plans and conducts investigations to find out whether seeds are alive, with assistance

-        makes predictions, and observes and reports the changes to seeds as a result of  investigations

-        draws conclusions about whether plants are living or non-living as a result of their investigations

-        suggests some of the needs of plants as a result of their investigations

-        recalls and communicates understandings about seeds in light of learning 

Links to other Science and Technology strands (Board of Studies NSW, 2000, pp. 36, 38):

DM ES1.8 – Generates own ideas and designs through trial and error, play, modelling and making

-        works collaboratively to design and make a class book telling a story about seeds 

UT ES1.9 – Identifies and uses a limited range of equipment, computer-based technology, materials and other resources when undertaking exploration and production

-        uses SMART board technology to contribute to class brainstorming and discussions about seeds

-        uses a variety of equipment, including magnifying glasses and measuring devices when exploring and investigating seeds

-        uses a digital camera, with assistance, to record the results of their investigations 

Key Links to other KLAs:

ENGLISH (Board of Studies NSW, 1998, 36):

WES1.9 – Engages in writing texts with the intention of conveying an idea or message

-        does drawings with labels

-        contributes to joint construction of texts

-        uses visuals to communicate ideas  

TES1.2 Demonstrates basic skills of classroom and group interaction, makes brief oral presentations and listens with reasonable attentiveness.

-        contributes to class discussions

-        participates in partner and small-group activities  

MATHEMATICS (Board of Studies NSW, 2002, pp. 148, 172):

WMES1.2 – Uses objects, actions, imagery, technology and/or trial and error to explore mathematical problems

-        uses informal units, such as unifix blocks placed one on top of another, to measure and investigate growth of seedlings over time 

MES1.1 – Describes length and distance using everyday language and compares lengths using direct comparison

-        describes the growth of their seedling in terms of its height using everyday comparative language such as ‘taller or higher than last time’  

Key ‘Big Ideas’ (NSW DET, 2007, p. 1):

Content: Living Things

-        Living things can differ from non-living things in a range of ways

-        There is a diversity of living things 

Learning Process: Investigating

-        Makes observations using all the senses and responds to questions about ways to find out

-        Suggests simple cause-and-effect associations

-         Tells others about what has been found out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Unit at a glance

  Seeds – Dead or Alive?
  Phase  Lesson  At a glance
ENGAGE 

Lesson 1

What do we know about seeds?

To engage students and elicit their prior knowledge, and naïve or alternate conceptions, about seeds.

To ascertain questions students have about seeds.

To introduce students to a SMART board document that they will contribute to adding to over the course of the unit (will contain resources, ideas, questions, etc – and will be used as a reference throughout the unit and especially during the final lesson).

EXPLORE 

Lesson 2

Where can we find seeds?

To provide students with hands-on, shared experiences about where seeds can be found.

To combat the common naïve conception that seeds come from packets.

To support the development of students’ observation skills.

To provide a foundation upon which to scaffold further learning.

  EXPLAIN 

Lesson 3

What are seeds?

To scaffold students’ knowledge of seeds by providing them with the experience of looking at a seed more closely including looking inside the seed, drawing the seed and labelling the different parts using age-appropriate language.
ELABORATE 

Lesson 4

Are seeds alive?

To pose higher order questions about seeds to students to promote deep knowledge and inform further learning, including ‘Are seeds alive?’ ‘How do you know?’ ‘How could we find out?’

To facilitate students to plan and conduct an investigation to assist them to overcome the naïve conception that seeds are not alive and support the development of more appropriate understandings.

To support students’ to make predictions about the outcome(s) of their investigations.

Lesson 5

Seeds can grow!

To encourage students to make further predictions.

To support students’ observations of the progress of their investigation.

EVALUATE 

Lesson 6

The seed story

To provide opportunities for students to reflect on their learning and jointly construct a picture book to record and share their understandings about seeds as a result of learning in this unit.
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