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page 5 reflections

Necessary for success of unit:

  • Sufficient supplies and materials (enough magnets, batteries, light bulbs, etc.) for every child to experiment individually or with a partner.
  • Preparation and planning required for lab "set up."  Kits need to be compiled and checked for working materials (i.e. no broken bulbs, batteries have power).
  • Daily planning of activities and constant feedback from students' work to evaluate effectiveness of activity/lesson.
  • Sufficient reading materials (many, many books about these topics and related topics), and easy access to Internet resources.
  • Communicate effectively with parents by letters, flyers, homework assignment sheets, and phone. Parents must be aware of the topic content, their children's assignments and responsibilities, and request chaperones for the trip.
  • A trip to The Franklin Institute requires many chaperones. It is best to have small groups of children (adult/child ratio 1 to 2 is probably the best) so students can try all the different exhibits and stroll through the Museum at their own pace. Also chaperones can ask questions, stimulate thinking, and explain/interpret exhibits.
  • Organize a display of the childrens' work, and celebrate conclusion of unit.

In retrospect:

What would I do differently or remember to include next time?

I am disappointed that I did not take photos of my students on a regular basis. No one remembered to bring a camera along on our trip. Also, student work should be collected and saved for future reference.

If possible, another trip to the Museum with the same students should be planned. It would be interesting to see how much the children remember from their experiences, and what they would like to do again or try again.

Try to coordinate our trip and the unit (experiments/activities) with our (School District of Philadelphia) curriculum guidelines and timeline better. We worked continuously on the unit until the trip, and as a result we were delayed in beginning the next topic. My concern is that we cover all the topics in the curriculum, and at the suggested pace.

For the most part, I feel the unit went well. The trip was certainly a highpoint in the entire unit. The children were motivated to learn and excited about going on a class trip. The children were encouraged to learn and be prepared so they would appreciate the trip and the exhibits more. The trip and the entire unit were tremendously worthwhile learning experiences for all.

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Generous founding support for the Harcourt Teacher Leadership Center and the Harcourt Learning Labs was provided by the Harcourt General Charitable Foundation on behalf of Harcourt, Inc.