For our presentation, my group conducted a barometer exercise similar to those that may be seen at the Posse retreat or in education classes on campus. We hoped that by reading some borderline extreme statements concerning the readings from class, and the different stages in our class progression, our classmates would be able to visually represent where they lie on these “issues.” The class gathered outside and upon being presented with a statement, such as “Randomness is an awful thing to teach high school students,” placed themselves at a specific point along the spectrum between “Agree” and “Disagree.” This exercise was important to our group because we thought it would give a voice to those who may not normally feel comfortable talking in our large group discussions. It also gave everyone an opportunity to see the overall opinions of their classmates.
We had hoped that students would move amongst themselves more as they heard the statements of their peers, but with a short amount of time and less participation that we had ideally hoped for, it was not the case. I also believe that with the large number of questions in a short period of time it was a bit overwhelming, with not as much time to adjust to the activity as I would have hoped. This movement could have represented the evolution of students’ learning both throughout the course, and through their interactions with fellow students. Despite this lack of movement, I believe that it was quite successful, and it was interesting to see where students placed themselves on the spectrum. I am looking forward to using this technique to stimulate discussion as a high school teacher in the years to come as I believe it can be a very useful tool for both students and professors/teachers to see where their class stands.