Last Friday was an especially exciting day for all of us here in the NHS Learning Studio as we partnered with Physics teacher Joe Pepitone to create learning opportunities for inquiry and student exploration of circuits. Below, Joe explains the seeds of this collaboration, reflections on the lab activities, and the impact of a team effort to create “centers” and “extension” circuit activities to extend and challenge the principles behind the primary circuit lab. I encourage you to take the time to listen to Joe’s in-depth reflections on processes and insights from our experiences.
Overview of Our Day of Fun and Learning with Circuits
Joe began by explaining the paper circuit lab that was the starting point for students and the learning activity to demonstrate learning targets.
Students then self-formed groups to do the first lab where the goal was to create a paper circuit that would result in the LED bulb lighting up.
Once they had demonstrated they had created a working paper circuit with a working light bulb, students could then move through our two extension and enrichment centers facilitated by LSTC Logan Malm (a former science teacher) and Jennifer Lund (my fellow librarian). Logan worked with students using the MakeyMakey kits while Jennifer helped students work with the squishy circuits (we had purchased our materials for these last year as part of our maker activities for Teen Tech Week 2014). These “centers” were designed to provide students additional hands-on opportunities to further their exploration of circuits; these were both a big hit with students, and many were interested in doing more labs using these materials and visiting the media center to utilize them for fun. We loved hearing them think aloud and problem solve together; many of them did not want to leave when the bell rang!
We were even joined by several of our assistant principals and fellow science teachers—I think it was very powerful for our students to see adults learning side by side with them.
We are deeply appreciative to Joe as well as Logan for this kind of collaborative experience that ultimately benefited our students and elevated learning to a new level; as Joe reflected in the video earlier, having other partners to help facilitate an activity like this enables him as a teacher to meet students at points of need and for instruction to be differentiated. These partnerships, fluidity in expertise and novice, co-learning, and energy are the very kinds of learning experiences Jen and I have envisioned for our library learning studio. To see it blossom and to be part of the vision become reality is joyful and exciting. We cannot wait to see what new partnerships might be inspired with other faculty and community members by this collaborative work!
See more of our photos and videos here.