I will be creating an Online Design Plan to facilitate instruction to a group of grade 9 Science students. My plan will include the concepts involved with Ohm’s Law and will last for the duration of one week. I will be using the outline provided by Dee Fink, L. (2003). A self directed guide to designing courses for significant learning to help guide me in the planning process. Fink uses a 5-step approach in the initial planning phase which I will follow for my course. The initial phase consists of the following parts:
Step 1. Situational Factors
Step 2. Learning Goals
Step 3. Feedback and Assessment
Step 4. Teaching/Learning Activities
Step 5. Integration
The lesson I will be creating is on Ohm’s Law and the connection between voltage, current and resistance. There are 33 grade 9 students in the class. The course will be delivered in a classroom or a science lab. The students will be setting up circuits so they will need a large space and a basic circuit materials including wires, D cell batteries, 2.5 W light bulbs, ammeters and voltmeters. The students will also need access to computers for online learning activities. The connection between the concepts of voltage, current and resistance are part of the Alberta Education curriculum for grade 9 students. The subject is a combination of theoretical and practical knowledge and it deals primarily with convergent thinking as there is only one specific answer when dealing with variables and equations. There are no controversies in dealing with this subject matter, it is based on well understood scientific principles of electricity that have been around since the 1800’s. The learners at my school come from mostly middle class families. They have some prior experience in this subject matter from grade 5 (if they went to school in Alberta) where they would have completed a unit on electricity. The subject matter deals with concepts and terminology that students would come into contact with in their daily lives. Units such as voltage and amperage are used on various electrical devices and products that are commonly found in homes or at school. Ohm’s Law and the concept of resistance will be something that is new for most students. As far a learning styles, there would be a mix, but a majority of the students would be visual learners. So I will to use a lot of visual representation when I present the concepts. I will also be making modified versions of the quiz that I give at the end of this mini unit to accommodate for learners who are on Individual Program Plans. I have taught this subject for many years and have a firm background with the concepts. I have a passion for teaching and especially enjoy teaching science.
Description of Online Teaching and Learning Experience
Since Ohm’s Law is a law, students will be learning the relationships between three variables and be able to use and modify a formula. The formula deals with the relationship between voltage, current and resistance so it will be important for the students to have a firm understanding of each term. These concepts may not pertain much to their future lives however in their immediate future (high school) theses concepts will come up again so it’s important that students get the proper background knowledge for future success. My students will be learning critical thinking skills when they are trying to make logical connections between concepts. There is not a lot of room for creativity in this particular set of lessons. Getting the correct answer by using the equation doesn’t leave a lot of room for creativity. Students will work on making connections between the concepts and their lives. There are many connections to make including the voltages for household electricity, the amperage that different devices require, where resistors are used, power and the cost of electricity. Many of the connections can be made through work on the Gizmo which is an interactive computer program. Students should also look to make connections to their past experience from learning about electricity in grade 5. I would also like the students to work on problem solving skills with word problems that will force them to think more deeply about the subject matter. Another important skill for the students is to follow a problem solving format where they 1) Read the problem carefully and write down what you know and what you want to find out, 2)Pick a strategy and make a plan (use equation). 3. Carry out plan and solve problem and 4. Look back to check you answer (does it make sense in context of original question?)
- Students will describe the nature of electrical current; and explain the relationship among current, resistance and voltage.
- Students will measure voltage and amperage in circuits and apply Ohm’s law to calculate resistance, voltage and current in simple circuits.
- Students will describe how voltage, current, resistance and power are at work in their own homes.
Online Assessment Strategy
To evaluate student learning at the end of the Electricity unit I will be giving a test composed of multiple choice and numerical response questions. This is an example of summative assessment. However, to check to see the learning along the way I will also be using formative assessment, this will ensure feedback to me as well as the students regarding progress towards meeting the learning outcomes. The formative assessment that I will be using is a Kahoot. A Kahoot is a series of multiple choice type questions made by the teacher and presented online to the students through their mobile devices. In the article by Rob Kelly on Alternative Assessment Methods for the Online Classroom he writes about the use of mobile technology and how it can be used to incorporate authentic assessment into a course. Students enjoy being able to use their phones in the classroom, it seems to give them a sense of comfort. They answer each question on their phone, and it is anonymous so they don’t fear giving the wrong answer in front of their peers. The information that I get as a teacher is very important to how I will teach the remainder of concept or unit. There are many times that I think that I’ve taught a concept brilliantly and I will get 20% of the students getting the answer correct. I even catch myself saying out loud to the students “How is it possible that almost all of you got that question wrong?” After I recover emotionally from the fact that I’m a terrible teacher, we talk about the concept again and hopefully this time it will stick with the students. However, without this formative assessment, I would have no idea until my final exam that students were struggling with particular concepts. When I tell students in my class that we are doing a Kahoot, I usually get an audible cheer because they get to go to their lockers, get their phones, come back to class, sign in with some anonymous name, and do what is basically a multiple choice quiz. The only difference is that there is no anxiety. It is also easy for me as a teacher to make immediate corrections because I can go over the concept while the question is still on the screen and talk about why the answer most students chose was incorrect and why the other answer was correct. This immediate feedback in invaluable as a teacher. Other than being great feedback for me, I often hear students say things like, “I don’t know this stuff very well,” or “I better study hard for this unit test coming up.” They can recognize where their weaknesses are and make corrections. Cauley and McMillan talk about the importance of formative assessment in good teaching practice. “Although formative assessment can be performed after a test, effective teachers use formative assessment during instruction to identify specific student misunderstandings, provide feedback to students to help them correct their errors, and identify and implement instructional correctives.” The Kahoot enables me to achieve each of these goals.
Teaching and Learning Activities
The two teaching and learning activities that I will be facilitating are and online circuit building activity and a Gizmo, which is an interactive online educational site. First the circuit building assignment. The website is:
The assignment will be for students to build various circuits which can involve variable voltages, resistance and currents. It will also involve the two different types of circuits, series and parallel. The assignment will give instructions as to what a circuit will be composed of, for example:
Build a series circuit with a 9V battery and two 10 Ohm resistors. Use Ohm’s Law to find the current. Now use the ammeter to find the current and compare your answer. Now change the battery to 3V, and predict the new current. What is happening to current as voltage decreases?
Using guiding questions such as this I can get the students to build a number of different circuits and see the relationships that exist between voltage, current and resistance right in front of their eyes. It also helps them understand the relationship between each part of the equation and how if one variable changes, it will affect the others. Students can do the calculations and check to see if their answers are correct, immediately. This would be considered active learning and in Finks self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning he writes: ” the concept of active learning supports research that shows: students learn more and retain their learning longer if they acquire it in an active rather than a passive manner.”
The second learning activity I plan on using is a Gizmo called: Household Energy Usage.
Gizmos are math and science simulations that are aligned with Alberta Education curricular outcomes. The one I am using helps students make the connection between the concepts in the first activity and how they can be related to household electricity. This activity introduces the students to the term Power and an equation that can be used to calculate it. The equation is P=IV, where P=Power, I=Current and V=Voltage. The students have already learned about voltage and current and they are now ready for power. They also recognize that the electronic devices, appliances or light bulbs either have resistors in them or are themselves resistors. This activity also takes students through the calculation for the cost of power in $/kWh and this enables them to make a connections to the real world of energy costs and the importance of conserving energy. This ultimately leads to class discussions around what types of energy we are using to meet our needs for power and implications such as greenhouse gas emissions. There is a lot of opportunities in this lesson to make connections to issues affecting our community, Canada and the world at large.
In this part of my planning it is important to check and see how each component of my online plan are aligned. The situational factors are in alignment with the outcomes, assessment strategies and learning activities. I know this because of my level of experience, familiarity with the subject matter and knowledge of the type of students I will be teaching. My assessment procedures will address the learning goals because my outcomes are very specific and therefore easy to assess in my formative and summative evaluation. The learning goals are presented in a way that makes them easy for the students to understand and hopefully be successful at assessing their own performance. The teaching activities, I feel, are also in alignment with my outcomes. There are no activities that are not aligned with my learning outcomes. As any design plan, until you put it into practice you cannot be positive how successful it will turn out to be. However, as long as you have a well thought out and carefully designed plan, your chances of providing the students with an exceptional learning experience is much greater.
Cauley, K. M., & McMillan, J. H. (2010). Formative assessment techniques to support student motivation and achievement. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas , 83 (1), 1-6.
Fink, L. D. (2003). A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant
learning. Retrieved from http://www.deefinkandassociates.com/
Online Teaching and Learning