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 Hurricane Season - Prepare! It provides a lens for looking at the issues involved in this problem scenario, and it facilitates transfer of what is learned during this unit to other problem situations. Use of a Big Idea is discussed in the Universal Design for Learning paper that is referenced 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 can take the form of mini-lectures, demonstrations, interviews, readings, videos, etc. During the Investigation phase, you should probably be prepared to provide information on:
- state and local government
- the economics of tourism
- interpretation and use of maps
- use of handheld probeware (weather instruments)
- making predictions and calculating probability
- 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 On difficult tasks, scaffolding is substantial at first, but then is gradually withdrawn as students become increasingly able to perform independently.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 referenced in the Professional Information Center.
Content Enhancements are memory and/or organization aids, such as study guides, maps and tables, graphic organizers, photographs and multimedia, etc., that do what their name implies - enhance content. Their use is especially important 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 paper on Universal Design for Learning .
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 a paper referenced 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 the Learning Tasks above you will have found several tasks that are appropriate for small group work. You could 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 does an understanding of past hurricanes help us to prepare for future storms?
- Is it helpful to know the likelihood of events and associated hazards?
- How does timing affect preparation plans? (month and day as well as watch/warning status)
- How does knowledge of community agencies assist us in our planning?
- How do local communication and transportation systems affect our plan?
- How does it help us to educate the local population about hurricanes and other storm hazards?
- What can we now identify as roadblocks to our efforts? How might we overcome them?
- What can we identify as sources of assistance? How can we use that assistance?
- How is your investigation changing your thinking about this 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?