Rhonda Adams, July 19, 2012, 1:16 PM
I was wondering if any of you have some guidelines on how much time should be allowed for exploring/ experimenting with before students begin the discussion and reflection parts of the lessons?
I have run into similar problems with never having enough time! I don't really have any guidelines, per se, for how long I spend on each area of a 5E lesson. The first year I implemented inquiry, my lesson plans had to be revamped nightly because we didn't complete as much during class as I thought we would. When this happened I included notes about the extended amount of time needed, why we needed more time, ways to streamline the process so it didn't take as much time, etc. Each year, my plans get a little more refined, and I am better at judging how long different topics of study will probably take. My goal in inquiry-based learning is to help my students develop their problem solving abilities. I try really hard not to cut lessons short because we run out of time. If learning is still occurring, I will revamp my lesson plans to fit to a new timeline.
Here are a couple of ideas that I've tried out over the years to "fit" everything in during the school day:
1. Combine subjects. For instance for science, the students explore and experiment, for reading they read about the concept they are exploring, and for LA they reflect and write in their journals (BTW, I also use this same tactic for social studies).
2. Alternate days for subjects. By alternating days between science and social studies, I am able to devote the same amount of time each week, but I have longer blocks of time to let me students explore. For instance, let's say you normally spend 5 hours a week on science. Instead of having a 1 hour block each day, you can spend 2 hours on Monday to explore, 2 hours, and Wednesday to experiment, and 1 hour on Friday to reflect. I spend 5 hours on Social Studies split between Tuesday and Thursday. The next week, I flip flop the days the subjects are taught on.
3. Explore a topic/theme that extends across your curriculum for several weeks. This gives you ample time to address your requirements for each subject while providing your students with plenty of time to explore.
Hopefully these ideas help!