Deductive and Inductive Approach to the "Big Idea"
One decision you will have to make early on is whether you are going to take a deductive or an inductive approach to the "big idea." That decision will guide the questions you develop for this phase of PBL. Regardless of which approach you use, the Big Idea is an important component of The Alhambra Restoration unit. It is what ties the major concepts together, and it is what facilitates transfer of what is learned during this unit. Use of a Big Idea is discussed in the Universal Design for Learning paper in the Professional Information Center.
Embedded Instruction ("just in time" teaching)
As students engage in their Learning Tasks, they will find they need some knowledge and skills that they do not have. This provides opportunities for "just in time" teaching, or embedded instruction. This may take the form of mini-lectures, demonstrations, interviews, readings, videos, etc. During the Investigation phase, you should probably be prepared to provide information on:
- the economics of tourism
- interpretation and use of maps
- tessellations and transformations
- spreadsheet construction and use
- making tables, graphs, etc.
- other – (complete the list with items of your own)
You will want to plan ahead for the grouping and instructional structures you will use and to establish effective ways for students to acquire and manage the information they need. Consider the strategies below.
Scaffolding, an essential teaching technique, refers to the guidance teachers give to students as they gain new knowledge and learn new skills. On difficult tasks, scaffolding is substantial at first, but then is gradually withdrawn as students become increasingly able to perform independently. The amount and duration of scaffolding will change with the needs of the learner as well as the difficulty of the task. To read more about scaffolding, please see the Universal Design for Learning paper in the Professional Information Center.
Content Enhancements are memory and/or organization aids, such as maps, graphic organizers, mnemonics, study guides, etc., that do what their name implies - enhance content. Their use is advocated for students with learning disabilities, but they should be used by any student who finds them helpful. We have prompted students to use content enhancements in some of the Learning Tasks as part of the unit's UDL feature. You will find a description of content enhancements in the UDL paper in the Professional Information Center.
Reciprocal teaching is a well-researched and highly regarded strategy for comprehension and concept development. We have found it also works well with small groups in a problem-solving situation. A brief description of reciprocal teaching can be found in the Professional Information Center.
A very effective grouping strategy is the jigsaw, a cooperative learning structure that provides a strong design for teaming students. If you clicked on some of the Learning Tasks above you will have found several that are appropriate for small group work. You might want to use the jigsaw to segment and assign those tasks.
Inquiry ("stop and think")
As students work, periodically ask them to stop and think about the implications of their tasks for the problem at hand. Ask questions such as:
- How has the history affected the culture of Granada?
- How has history and culture affected the appearance and design of the Alhambra?
- Why is authenticity of design important? What makes a design authentic?
- How will the tourist business influence this problem/solution?
- How does the location of Granada affect the problem/solution?
- What patterns are we beginning to see? in the panel designs? in the cost of panel replacement?
- How has your thinking about the situation changed?
- How is this information relevant to our situation?
- What forces are operating on this problem?
- What are the real issues here?
- What more do we need to know? How can we find out?