• The Spark

What Does 3D Teaching Look Like?

Author:  Cary Sneider, Consulting Author, HMH Science Dimensions  | 09/19/2017

what does 3d learning look like

Although it’s been many years since I was in the classroom, I still have “teacher nightmares.” No matter what I do, I can’t get to class on time. Or I walk into the classroom and haven’t the foggiest idea what I was planning to teach. Usually I wake up and realize that I don’t really need to show up the next day. But this time, it’s for real!

I recently agreed to teach a webinar on October 5, about the topic “Three-Dimensional Teaching: What It Looks Like in the Classroom.” I realized that just talking about 3D teaching is like lecturing about the importance of hands-on activities. What to do?

3D Teaching in Action
Finally, I “woke up” to the fact that I don’t have to explain 3D teaching. We could watch 3D teaching videos. But with only 45 minutes, it would not be possible to see several different classrooms and discuss them. However, I could ask participants to watch a few videos of classrooms in action before the webinar, and then share their perceptions when we meet online.

I spent the better part of a week looking at lots and lots of videos, including some designed to illustrate how to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)*, and some created for entirely different purposes. I skipped videos about how to teach, and focused on those that showed teachers and students in the classroom. I also eliminated any that were too long, so as not to make unreasonable demands on my audience. I also wanted videos that spanned a wide range of grades. Below is the list of videos (with links) that I eventually decided on.

Then it occurred to me that there is no reason to use this list just for the webinar. There are lots of teacher study groups around the country, and perhaps some would like to view and discuss this collection. So here it is folks—my favorite collection of really interesting virtual field trips to a wide variety of classrooms.

When You “Walk” into These Classrooms…

Before I let you go, however, please consider that all of these teachers are amazingly courageous! They’ve allowed others to “walk into their classroom,” knowing that some will praise what they do, and others will be critical. So when you discuss their teaching, please be respectful and appreciative of their efforts—even if you are viewing them by yourself!

Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself—and discuss with others:

  1. What do I like about what I just saw and heard?
  2. What is the single most important goal of this lesson?
  3. What core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concept(s) did the students come to understand?
  4. If this teacher asked me for suggestions, how could the lesson be improved?

“Lab Before the Blab” Lights Up Elementary School Science (3 minutes 40 seconds)
Elementary teacher Leigh Ann Anderson illustrates a teaching method called “lab before the blab.” In this short video, we see fourth graders doing an activity involving batteries, bulbs, and circuits. We also see fifth graders using a catapult and collecting data to figure out how to make an object fly one meter.

Energy & Matter Across Science Disciplines (9 minutes, 26 seconds)
High school teacher Tricia Shelton engages her ninth-grade students in studying the flow of energy through a life science system and through a physical science system. They use evidence-based reasoning to make claims about how energy flows through the two systems, applying concepts such as conservation of energy and efficiency.

First Steps Transitioning to an NGSS Classroom (3 minutes 35 seconds)
In this short video, high school teacher Tricia Shelton shares her experiences in shifting to an NGSS classroom, including aspects of her teaching that stayed the same, and aspects that were profoundly different. It includes valuable sequences not seen in the prior video.

Making Claims from Evidence (10 minutes)
Second-grade teacher Becky Cope illustrates how to engage her second graders in conducting an investigation and gathering evidence to support a claim about whether wind or water causes more erosion. The students then design and test a method of reducing erosion.

Reality PD: Middle School Science—Maximize Instructional Time (5 minutes 44 seconds)
Seventh-grade teacher Keelan Purcell engages her students in investigating chicken bones as a means for thinking about the function of bones in our own bodies.

Whole Brain Teaching (5 minutes 56 seconds)
Mr. Battle demonstrates a method of starting at the lower levels of learning and leading his eighth-grade chemistry students moving towards higher-order thinking in a single lesson.

Exploring NGSS in the classroom: Red-winged Blackbird Unit (11 minutes 37 seconds)
Alice Severson and Dom Lark take their third-grade students on a field trip to a local marsh to observe red-winged blackbirds. Based on their observations the students develop hypotheses about the role played by red markings on the bird’s wings.

What Does It All Mean for Your Teaching?
Considering all of these classrooms and teaching styles, what is the most important lesson that you’ve taken away from this virtual field trip? How will it affect your teaching? Please join us for the webinar on October 5 and share your perceptions.

Cary Sneider will be presenting as part of our Fall Science Webinar Series: Innovate, Inspire, Invent—Science in Today’s Classroom. Learn about the complete series and register today!

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