Force and Motion: Stop Faking It!

Constructivism and the Learning Cycle!
The first of two Web Seminars on the topic of Stop Faking It! - Force and Motion was held on Thursday, November 17, 2005, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The session was presented by Bill Robertson, author of the popular NSTA Press series of books Stop Faking It! - Finally Understanding Science So You Can Teach It.

web seminar player screen shot

The session started with a general overview of the Web Seminar tools and how they can be used to facilitate interaction between the participants and the presenter. Forty-three participants were present in addition to Bill Robertson and the NSTA staff. Educators represented the states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Bill talked about constructivism, the learning cycle, and how these two concepts can be applied to teaching science in the classroom. Bill used the topic of density, included in his book on Force and Motion, as context for the conversation. He started the session by doing a simulation of constructivism. This exercise served as a good refresher for those who had heard about constructivism at the face-to-face symposium in Chicago and a perfect introduction to the topic to those who had never heard about the concept. Then he proceeded to introduce the idea of the learning cycle (engage, explore, explain) and how it fits into the familiar 5Es lesson design tool. The session ended with descriptions of activities where the participants had to use their acquired knowledge to identify each as examples of engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate.

Throughout the presentation there were several opportunities for interactions among the participants and presenter - answering poll questions, chatting, stamping, marking, and interacting verbally with each other.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • "I have taken many online classes and participated in a range of online workshops/seminars. The format is exceptional; the tools add a constant interaction that keeps participants involved, actively engaged, and overall, interested."
  • "I really enjoy all these seminars and find them very useful. I hope that they continue in the future."
  • "The pace was fantastic and informative... My concerns were addressed."
  • "This was great. I have never heard such a satisfactory explanation of constructivism before. I finally "get" it and I will definitely apply it to my classroom!"

Thanks to the participants and Bill for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done! Join us for the second Force and Motion: Stop Faking It! Web Seminar scheduled to take place in February 1, 2006.

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  Underwritten in part by NSTA Press