Science and a Sense of Place:
Learning Where We are Located in the World

(July 24-August 4, 2006)

Reactions to Day 1: "Doing Science with a Sense of Place"




"Accidentally" human-made cairn
on the North Shore of Iceland

Jack's (rather poetic!) summary of what took place:
I've learned that you can find your sense of place in any environment. A sense of place doesn't belong to just humans...Plants have their own sense of place where they best thrive- and people may coexist successfully in those same places....I think we all have our own cairns too. We are the beacons on our own sense of place: As we explore and navigate life, we put out into the public an "invisible cairn" that people notice, and this leads them to discover who we are.

I. A couple of "cairns" to guide us:

Corrected schedule re: bagels

Query re: afternoon drinks?? (I could really juse that afternoon caffeinated coffee!)

Added to resources re: urban outward bound program

Began Photo Archive

Today: group photo before coffee break

Other technical details: I am unclear if we are going to create a single Lesson Plan that may serve as a curriculum base, or are we going to write a curriculum?

Other coursekeeping questions?
II. Other, larger questions that arose yesterday....

How much free exploration will we encourage in our classrooms?
How much explicit guidance do our students (and we!) need?
Carol: I was not quite taken with the map activity because more input would need to be presented to ensure that everyone began from the same vantage point.

Cynthia: the map activity...made me consider other teaching techniques to better meet my students' needs.

Jack: I enjoyed watching HIM do it, but when we were set free tgo investigate, I felt lost and powerless. Maybe...print olut the steps needed to navigate these sites (each one) successfully.

Deb: I sense that it will be important...for me to continue to develop new ways of responding to students who might (out of anxiety or learning style) seek to just simply arrive at the "right answer" or react fiercely to a classmate's perspective when it differs from their own.... I need to convince many students and parental units of the value of open ended questions.

How will we handle the diversity of the ways
our students locate themselves in the world?

How can we negotiate the gap between
their sense of place and our own?
Marita: In the first activity where we drew maps of ourselves in the world it was interesting to see individualized ways of answering the question and what things impinged most in the lives of various participants.

Charles: my student's perspective "places" are very diverse. I hope to leave this institute with a better handle on laying a foundation from where the students are (not necessarily the core curriculum) and not assuming I know the student's "place."

Deb: I am also thinking quite a bit about the ways I can help kids who are busing into the school neighborhood, but not living there, own a common sense of place. I can identify this place, but that won't necessarily help kids who only experience the school in Lansdowne, PA between the hours of 8:30 and 3 own this stuff. Finally, I am thinking about how I can connect the school place and global place to my student's home place if their home place so differs from my experience and sense of place....at what point do I step into their place?
III. Today: will we go where we have not gone before...
will we have a home base from which to explore...?
:

Jennifer: I was challenged a great deal when I was asked to leave my comfort zone ...to tour Bryn Mawr campus to make observations .... Learning science should have a home base , however, the experience should take you to a place where you have not visited before. Today, I have visited several places that I have not seen before . As I am teaching science in the classroom, I hope to take my students where they have not gone before .

Mingh: I wouldn't send my pre-k/k students out with the expectation that they would read a book much less a map (at least not a conventional one). I bring my grade level up because I would like it to be kept in mind how concrete, ego-centric, literal, and experiential needy my students are. So, I'm a little concerned about tomorrow's presenter and the cosmos.....
The Key to the Universe

Liz McCormack



| Science and a Sense of Place | Bryn Mawr College Summer Institutes for K-12 Teachers | Serendip Home |

Send us your comments at Serendip
© by Serendip 1994- - Last Modified: Monday, 24-Jul-2006 22:52:29 EDT