Young Minds Grow
Journey North provides a variety of Journaling Questions
on Activity/Lesson pages (and
in some Journey North News updates) for each migration and seasonal project.
The questions help students build and reinforce reasoning and problem-solving
skills and understanding. They ask students to do the following:
- dig into
and try to make sense of data
out math, science, or mapping challenges
on Journey North experiences
creatively or make personal connections to material
their experiences and learning to new contexts
model the thinking/questioning process that scientists use in their work.
Often open-ended, they offer students examples of the types of questions
they should be asking themselves. They can also help you address pressures
to integrate writing into subject areas.
Journal Questions and Science Journals
Journals in which students record their thoughts on the Journey North
Questions can be excellent tools for sparking thinking, reasoning, and
understanding. Journals also provide an excellent opportunity for teachers
to function as facilitators of student learning. Here are some tips:
- Give students
time to first explore the question in their science journals before
discussing their answers with one another. Encourage them to write about
or be prepared to explain the thinking behind their responses or answers.
- Use journals
as a way to communicate with students as they try to "think through"
science puzzles and concepts. You might, for instance, routinely collect
journals and write questions and comments directly on pages, or share
these during a discussion with each student.
With "Wrong" Answers
It is important to allow students the freedom to make mistakes.
Some of the greatest scientific discoveries were the result of experiments
that "failed." Encourage students to critically review
their investigations and conclusions. Suggest activities or investigations
that challenge them to further explore their ideas and test hypotheses.
How do you address student answers, theories, explanations, or conclusions
that are "incorrect"? How do you deal with student misconceptions?
Think about the strategies you use when you encounter these situations.
You might want to discuss this challenge with other teachers and share your
successful techniques. Try to find alternatives to simply correcting students;
instead, use strategies
that encourage critical thinking:
or clarify a question.
- Ask a
student to explain the process he/she used to find the answer.
- Have the
student provide data that supports the answer.
- Give students
a chance to revisit data and check what they think against what they
a group discussion in which classmates explore, challenge, and build
on one another's ideas.
students to conduct hands-on research to explore and test their theories