Interviewer: Pretty much for any unit that I teach I want to start with an essential question. The essential question needs to be a very high interest question, and it needs to be something they can directly relate it to.
When we studied chemistry at the beginning of the year our core question was, “How can I make new stuff from old stuff?” When we studied astronomy our question was, “Are we alone in space?” These are just big picture questions.
Thinking about why do I need to wear a helmet when I ride my bike.
In this unit our question was, “Why do I need to wear a helmet when I ride my bike?” We’re exploring the ideas of force in motion.
We’re modeling that collision using an egg. Somebody remind me why is an egg a good thing for us to use when we’re doing this model?
Interviewee: It’s a perfect model because it’s the same as our skull. It’s hard in the outside, but it’s soft in the inside.
Interviewer: It’s just something where right away we can kind of pull them in, give them something that they’re familiar with to talk about.
Interviewee: The momentum the cart had transferred to the egg.
Interviewer: I want them to think of science as something that they can do, and something they should think about in their day to life. I don’t want a theoretical discussion to remain theoretical. We need to have the theory, but really I want them to be putting everything that we’re talking about into their day to day context.
If I give them that framework they’re much more likely to go home—in fact they’re extremely likely to go home and talk to their parents about what they did today. What I’m really hoping is that they’re excited about what we’re learning, they’re understanding the scientific concepts and that they’re gonna feel comfortable practicing using the vocabulary.