Group Work

By

Stacy Bartels

I learned so much and had a lot of success in many different areas when it came to working at CLC program and in my CLC group.One of the most important things for our group to figure out right away was how we were going to get all of this done, in such a sort time, in the most effective way possible. Working in such a large group can be very difficult, especially for college students. We knew our group had to teach every Thursday for the month of October from about 3:00 to 4:00. It was essential that we had at least 2 people there for every lesson and each teacher had to go at least 2 times throughout the month. Even just going those 2 times were stressing us out. We knew that being there for the lesson that was taught the week prior to our own was important to make sure everything transitioned well from lesson to lesson.

Not only were there students from my TEAC science class in my group, but we were also grouped up with fellow engineers from a different class offered here at UNL. These engineers were the “specialists” on our topic. They were to help out with the more in depth, science related content of the lesson.

Picking the idea was a bit of a challenge but after a while of brainstorming our group decided on Penguins. We all thought of a different topic to tackle and then created lessons from there. We almost created a mini thematic unit. Each lesson intertwined with the others. After teaching our short unit we realized that they took something away from it. We wanted to “plant a seed in their minds”

One thing that our group used to stay in contact was a Google doc and email. The Google doc had all the lesson dates and what was being taught in that lesson. This way we could go on and see what was being taught, even if it wasn’t our turn to teach. If we wanted to make a note everyone could see it. Since being in a group can be complicated it was nice to have all the information and reminders all in one place.

Something crucial our group wanted to do was incorporate the videographer’s evidence she collected from her visit with a penguin specialist at the Lincoln Zoo. We thought it would be important to show our students the video she created. I liked the idea of showing the video initially because the zoo specialist was female. The students could see that not all specialists in an area or scientists are males. Something we could have done better was maybe hit on scientists in the community. We could have asked the students what they thought a scientist in the community would look like. After we could have shown the video and touched a bit on the stereotypes of scientists.

Another way to bring the scientists in was if we had an engineer come to the lesson and talk about what he/she knew about the topic. They could have given more in-depth insight on the background information on penguins or even how traits are passed down from penguin to penguin. This would have been perfect for the kids to see a “real life” scientist. Kids always enjoy having guests in the room and they are often intrigued by what they have to say.  Bringing in a scientist, whether it is an engineer or a penguin keeper, the students are being exposed to important people in the community.

In Breaking Science Stereotypes by Alec Bodzin and Mike Gehringer, they touched on if meeting actual scientists would change student’s perceptions of scientists. They found this to be true. In the beginning of the article it mentioned how students were to draw a scientist. Many students drew crazy, white-haired, lab coat wearing, male scientists. After bringing scientists into the classroom, both male and female, students realized that scientists weren’t just limited to what they initially drew. This would have been a great idea to try with our students. Rather than just taking information in about penguins, their perception about scientists may have changed. This also ties into what I was talking about with showing the penguin video and how the penguin keeper was a female that didn’t have to look crazy and work in a laboratory.

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