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Understanding by Design: Workshop Introduction

An introduction to Understanding by Design in Environmental Education Programs

Jaymee Squires

on 20 October 2016

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Transcript of Understanding by Design: Workshop Introduction

Understanding by Design: Plan, don't Hope
Based on the Professional Development Process by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins
How many buses does the army need to transport 1,128 soldiers if each bus can carry 36 soldiers?
Why use backwards design?
"To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you're going ... so that the steps you take are always in the right direction."
- Stephen Covey
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
So what does UNDERSTANDING mean and how do we teach for understanding??
Memorize the following number:
You have 20 seconds: go!
So how did you do?
Why do balloons in a car always escape out an open window??
Bernoulli's Principle!
WMSC Goals
Established goals of EE
ECSD Standards
OR ...
If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.
Sample Big Ideas:
Individual cells carry on the same basic functions needed to sustain life.

An environment can be divided into two parts: the biotic (living) and the abiotic (non-living)

Flowers are the reproductive organs of a plant. Pollination is a reproductive process.
Sample Essential Questions:
What makes a cell? What do cells do?
How do cells differ?

What makes something alive?
How do living things depend on nonliving things?

What good are flowers?
How do plants make more plants?
A body of coherent facts

Verifiable claims

I know something to be true

I respond on cue with what I know
The meaning of the facts

Fallible, "in-process" theories

I understand why something is true

I judge when to use what I know
Understanding is ...
"the ability to think and act flexibly with what one knows"
Stage 1: Identify desired results
Stage 2: Determine acceptable evidence
Stage 3: Plan learning activities
Life cycles
Nature vs. Nurture
Preservation vs. Conservation
Theory of Plate Tectonics
Environmental Issues
Organization of living things
What is the key idea in ___?
What are examples of ___?
What are the characteristics and parts of ___?
What caused ___? What are the effects of ___?
How might we prove, confirm, justify ___?
What might happen if ___?
How is ___ connected to ___?
What are common misconceptions about ___?
How did this come about? Why is this so?
What is the meaning of ___?
What are the implications of ___?
What does ___ reveal about ___?
How is ___ like ___(analogy or metaphor)?
How does ___ relate to me or us?
So what? Why does it matter?
How is ___ applied or used in the larger world?
How might ___ help us to ___?
How could we use ___ to overcome ___?
How and when can we use this (knowledge or process)?
What are different points of view about ___?
How might this look from ___'s perspective?
How is ___ similar to or different from ___?
What are other possible reactions to ___?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of ___?
What are the limits of ___?
What is the evidence for ___?
Is the evidence reliable? Sufficient?
What would it be like to walk in ___'s shoes?
How might ___ feel about ___?
How might we reach an understanding about ___?
What was ___ trying to make us feel and see?
How do I know ___?
What are the limits of my knowledge about ___?
How can I best show ___?
How are my views about ___ shaped by ___ (experiences, habits, prejudcies, style)?
What are my strengths and weaknesses in ___?
Consider The Six Facets of Understanding ...
So how does this apply in the world of EE field programs??
Sample Performance Task:
Goal: Design a 5-year plan to insure sustainable use of a given plot of USFS land
Role: You are a USFS land manager
Audience: Concerned citizens at a community planning meeting
Situation: Community members are concerned about rates of grazing and logging on USFS land.
Product: Prepare a written plan and oral statement that insures for both the long-term survival of the forest as well as continued grazing and logging.
Standards: The final report should demonstrate a thorough knowledge of forest ecology as well as the effects of logging and grazing and ways to minimize and mitigate these effects through sustainable practices. The final report should incorporate correct spelling and grammar, and the presentation should utilize good presentation skills.
What does it look like to create a sense of wonder and inspire stewardship?
How can we design curriculum that creates truly meaningful learning experiences?
How can we integrate the numerous theories, strategies, & structures to effectively design learning experiences??
Why is this worth learning?
What is expected of students?
Where are students coming from?
What misconceptions exist?
Where? What? Why?
Equip your students!
Experiential or inductive learning
Direct instruction
Rethink, Reflect, Revise
What skills need to be practiced?
How might student products be improved?
How will students reflect on their learning? Their new understandings?
How will your design challenge students to revisit important ideas?
Evaluate them!
Ongoing assessment
Encourage self-evaluation
Use assessment to constantly re-evaluate learning plan
Tailor it ...
By content:
Based on prior knowledge
Appeal to various learning styles
Provide open-ended questions with multiple valid answers
Use a variety of resource materials
By process:
Individual work vs. group work
Independent research questions
By product:
Allow student choice for activity or assignment format (i.e. written, oral, graphic, etc.)
Provide options for demonstrating understanding through various products or performances
ORGANIZE for Uncoverage!
Think of the unit as an unfolding story or problem - not an encyclopedia article
Avoid front-loading; teach as needed based on the "hook"
Include some surprises in sequencing
Include ongoing cycles of model, practice, feedback, adjustment
Focus on transferrable understandings
Move back and forth between the whole and the parts
Hook and Hold
"Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved through understanding."
Albert Einstein
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
"Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach."
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