Thursday, February 29, 2024

Bringing Hexagonal Considering to the Science Classroom


Are you searching for an genuine method to get your science college students to grasp necessary ideas, construct connections, and have interaction in high-level tutorial dialogue? Or possibly you want an attractive exercise within the days earlier than a break that also helps meet your requirements. Enter hexagonal pondering.

I used to be first launched to hexagonal pondering after observing a lesson in a social research class at my faculty. The 2 lecturers main the lesson had been following the process as described by EduProtocols, and my educating accomplice and I had been utterly impressed by what we noticed. A little bit little bit of digging revealed that the idea of hexagonal pondering has been extensively mentioned in instructional media. It’s even been coated right here on We Are Lecturers. Nevertheless, whereas the items I learn stated it could possibly be used for any content material, I didn’t see many examples that includes science. Let it’s identified, hexagonal pondering not solely can be used within the science classroom, it’s a terrific match for science content material! Is your curiosity is piqued? Learn on to study extra about what hexagonal pondering is, and tips on how to convey it to your personal science classroom.

What’s hexagonal pondering?

Getting began with hexagonal pondering is straightforward. Every pupil or crew of scholars receives a set of paper hexagons with key phrases printed within the heart. The aim is to rearrange the hexagons so that every aspect that touches has a connection. We Are Lecturers author Betsy Potash explains,”Ideas are … moved round to construct an online of linked concepts. Essentially the most attention-grabbing half comes within the debate about the place to attach what, and why. No two webs will ever look the identical, and neither will the reasons of the connections college students have made, whether or not given in writing or aloud.”

A fundamental instance could possibly be connecting “rain” and “snow” to “precipitation,” since each rain and snow are examples of precipitation. Nevertheless, college students who made this association and allowed one aspect of “rain” to the touch the opposite aspect of “snow” would must be ready to clarify a connection between these phrases as effectively. A surface-level connection might repeat the concept rain and snow are each precipitation. A extra subtle rationalization might introduce that the 2 types of precipitation are each water at various temperatures. As you possibly can see, the extra phrases you introduce, the sooner the rigor of the exercise snowballs (pun supposed!).

Past vocabulary

I’m positive at this level your mind is buzzing with methods to make use of hexagonal pondering to bolster necessary vocabulary. However don’t restrict your self! Offering hexagons with concepts that attain past vocabulary phrases is a unbelievable method to enhance the cognitive calls for in your college students.

My educating accomplice and I selected to implement hexagonal pondering on the finish of our unit on plate tectonics. As a part of their work with the OpenSciEd mannequin of instruction, college students had developed lists of investigation concepts and associated phenomena earlier within the unit. We added all of those to color-coded hexagons. The colour coding allowed college students to visualise connections between the investigations they performed all through the unit, scientific ideas they’d investigated, and the associated science concepts they may now clarify utilizing these ideas. Moreover, we offered clean hexagons of every colour. This gave college students the choice so as to add particular investigations or phrases that had not been offered.

Amy Hetherington-Coy

Moreover, utilizing totally different colours allowed us to shortly see how built-in the scholars’ connections had been. Teams that had massive clumps of a single colour tended to make extra literal connections. In contrast, teams with a good combine of colours noticed extra nuance in how the ideas and actions had been linked. As soon as teams agreed on the association of their hexagons, they glued them to a big sheet of chart paper.

Amy Hetherington-Coy

Explaining connections

When it got here time for college students to clarify the connections their crew had created, we referred to as on colour coding as soon as once more. This time, every pupil in a bunch of three or 4 chosen a special colour marker. College students annotated their crew’s chart paper of their chosen colour. With a fast have a look at the chart paper, I might see which group members had been actively collaborating and who wanted extra assist to get began. If one pupil within the group selected to do their writing in purple marker, and their was no purple marker on the chart paper, it gave me a cue to test in with this pupil.

As you possibly can think about, having 4 college students clustered round a chart paper might get crowded shortly. To maintain college students from being on prime of one another and preserve the reasons neat and simpler to learn, we used a numbering system. Every connection college students selected to clarify had an arrow with a quantity connecting the 2 hexagons. On a separate sheet of paper, college students would write the quantity and the reason that went with it. College students actually took possession of this and obtained artistic with the location of their arrows! Some college students drew arrows extending via as many as 4 hexagons, and offered explanations of how the 4 phrases collectively illustrated a bigger idea. I cherished seeing their pleasure and pleasure as they realized what number of items they may put collectively!

Amy Hetherington-Coy

Gallery stroll

One of the vital lovely issues about hexagonal pondering is the variety of the ultimate merchandise. It was necessary that we let different teams do a gallery stroll to see the connections their classmates had constructed. Nevertheless, asking center schoolers to guage each other’s work could be dicey with out the correct scaffolds.

To keep away from college students providing suggestions like “your paper is neat!” we offered a sheet of open-ended prompts. Every group left the sheet with their chart paper throughout the gallery stroll. When a bunch of scholars arrived on the mannequin, they’d two minutes to assessment the mannequin. Then, the group selected a immediate and responded on the paper. Asking college students to supply particular examples of similarities and variations to their very own group’s work or questions they’d in regards to the paper they had been viewing finally produced significant suggestions for his or her friends.

Amy Hetherington-Coy

Scholar ideas

Following the exercise, my educating accomplice and I offered our courses with a survey. We every educate 5 sections of seventh grade science and obtained a mixed 153 responses. Of these 153, 113 (74%) mirrored that the hexagon exercise helped them higher perceive connections between the unit ideas. Extra impressively, 149 college students (97%) shared that the exercise “all the time” or “at instances” inspired them to suppose deeply. However numbers solely inform a part of the story.

Studying college students’ descriptions of their experiences finishing this exercise introduced the info to life. One wrote, “I believe we should always do hexagon actions extra usually. They’re actually enjoyable and get you enthusiastic about the subject.” One other shared, “It was an effective way to indicate how every little thing we realized this unit is linked.” It was great to get affirmation from college students that they felt the engagement we witnessed of their teams!

Greater than your typical assessment

By integrating vocabulary, investigations, and associated phenomena, hexagonal pondering was extra than simply an end-of-unit assessment. All through the exercise, my educating accomplice and I witnessed true collaboration, teamwork, and high-level pondering from college students. Should you’re enthusiastic about attempting hexagonal pondering in your science classroom, I hope this testimonial is the push it’s worthwhile to make it occur!

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