When her school district adopted STEMscopes Science in 2016, Alicia Chiasson knew there was something special about it. A 6th-grade math and science teacher with 27 years of experience, Chiasson loved how each scope (lesson) is rooted in inquiry. She was so happy with the results in her classroom that she decided to join the STEMscopes team as a curriculum writer in January 2018.
In 1970, 20 million Americans came together for the very first Earth Day to raise awareness of the massive impact humanity has on our planet, as well as the urgent need to protect it. On its 50th anniversary, we’re still working toward the same goal, but on a much larger scale and with a greater sense of urgency, especially regarding this year’s theme, climate action.
Reflecting on my days as a teacher, I remember that I’d plan my lesson instruction leaving space and freedom for students to practice self-directed learning. Witnessing students dive into their own cognitive thinking and personal interests and associations while exploring content is simply euphoric for a teacher. This is when you can let go for a bit, and sit back and watch the natural explorer in your students. We have the perfect opportunity to purposefully foster self-directed learning. We’ve pulled together some instructional tips for incorporating self-directed learning into your students’ education.
Imagine this scenario: a star 5th grader is forced to stay home from school but continue learning. She’s accustomed to earning teachers’ praise and loves being the center of attention when she demonstrates her knowledge at the board. What happens when these special moments evaporate? She’ll probably turn to her parents for recognition. But they may be too busy maintaining their careers, managing a new kind of household routine, and caring for her younger siblings.
In our preview post, we shared a bit about setting expectations when assigning tasks remotely, along with the benefits of print versus digital assignments. Now, we’ll explore a range of assignment types that promote engagement and inquiry in a distance learning environment.