Bulb Archived: A/R Partners 2016-2017: Foley & Holm

1. How did you and your teaching partner decide to do this project? (Please describe the context of your project, this can include influence from previous projects, context of your school, community, etc.):

Melody and I have worked together for about 2 years in the SCALE after school program at George Washington High School. Although, we initially didn’t think we had a lot in common, we quickly discovered that we work really well together. When presented with an opportunity to apply for the A/RP, we saw an opportunity to expand our work together into the classroom. Since Melody was assigned to teach physics this school year and we both were fascinated by Rube Goldberg Machines, we initially proposed to do a unit revolving around creating a such machine. However, as the school year came about, we ended up with a small physics class with only four students, some of whom struggled with the academic content, others simply with focus. After consulting with our program manager, we decided to change the focus of our project quite a bit. Inspired by the students’ lack of ability to show up to class on time, we decided to ask “Why?” – and this is how our new project was born. 

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How long does it take Jonathan to get from music class to physics class, when he also has to drop his girlfriend off along the way – and it’s not a straight path? Melody and Jonathan return from their timed walk.

2. Big Idea:

Inspired by our students lack of ability to show up on time, we set out to figure out how long it takes getting from one class to the next, using concrete examples from each of the students. 

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Jonathan’s walking route from music class, past the physics class room, further through the library to drop his girlfriend off and then back to physics class. 

3. Inquiry:

How can we use real life examples and art to understand the Distance Speed Time formula?

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Trying to figure out what speed Vicor walks at, by dividing the distance with time. 

4. Grade Level:

High School – Juniors

5. Academic Subject(s):

Physics

6. Artistic Discipline(s):

Visual/Conceptual/Film

7. How many years have you worked together as partners?:

We have worked together as SCALE teaching partners for 2 years, however, this was the first time we worked together on an in class project. 

8. Please describe your project:

This project revolves around understanding the Distance, Speed and Time formula and it’s relevance in real life. When asking the students, they were interested in making a movie, since that would be a way to show time. We spent time discussing the type of movie and initially it was agreed to create a stop motion film, as neither of the students would have to act. However, as we learned about the different steps of creating a stop motion film and started the production, we soon realized that we would run out of time. The students voted to continue to make a film, mimicking a similar process to popular videos shared on Facebook, although, they insisted they did not want their own video posted on youtube or Facebook. They decided they would take turns holding up the signs to make up the formula and combine that with footage they captured moving around the school between classes. For the presentation, we discussed creating a copy of the small classroom we were in all school year, but settled on obtaining a desk to be modified to hold an iPad within showing the video. (Upon installation at the Great Space and discussion with other teachers and teaching artists, we ended up changing the piece by having the video projected onto the table top instead). 

9. What were you hoping the students would learn during this project?:

To understand the Distance, Speed, Time formula and it’s relevance to their personal lives. 

10. What surprised you during this project?:

Anni was surprised at the class size as well as the make up of the student group. This was the first time for her to work with special needs, so it required a lot of adjusting. Melody on the other hand is an expert in this area and had some great advise as how to get back on track when the “if I had a million dollars, I would do ___________ improvement here at the school to make it a better place”. Once we were able to establish the focus and explore the material, we both noticed that the students developed a much better comprehension of the meaning and use of the Distance, Speed and Time formula. Answers, that we to start had to obtain by pulling teeth, came at us with more confidence and accurateness toward the end of the unit. 

11. What worked in this project and why?:

Allowing for exploration of the subject within set boundaries, rather than asking too open-ended reflective questions. Open-ended questions easily turned into the the “if I had a million dollars…” talk, where as specific questions such as: “How do you think we best can show the formula in the video?” sparked answers such as: “I have a black marker, I can draw the letters on pieces of paper and color them in, so they are easier to see” 

12. What didn’t work and why?:

We only had 4 students in our class, each with their own set of challenges. What we thought was a simple project, turned out to be rather complicated project. We had to simplify the project even further and we still had a hard time keeping the focus.

13. What was your approach to assessment for this project?:

We started out with an in class quiz, to see where the students where at in terms of using the Distance, Speed and Time formula. As we were developing our project, we physically acted out some of the components in the formula in order to figure out, both how long it would take each of the students to get from their previous class to our class, but we also measured the distance walked and created a new map of the school. When it came to the actual art making and we asked our students, how to incorporate the formula, they knew it by heart: Distance over Speed and Time. 

14. How did you share your student’s learning process with others? Who did you share it with?:

We have created a short infomercial, that can be used an as a visual example in other classes to illustrate the process. We hope to share it with other teachers at the school. 

15. Did sharing your students’ learning occur according to your plan for social engagement in your proposal? Why or why not? Please explain.

No, but our project was very community focused, as it forced the students to investigate their own social behavior getting from one point at the school to another. As we did our research, walking the hallways timing walks and measuring distance, the students shared with other students what they were doing and why. We also discussed why or why not the results may vary from day to day. 

16. How are you as teachers, artists and students social engagers through this work?:

The idea was that this video would make other students connect with the locations, students and material included and find the subject relevant to themselves. We are not sure that this is entirely socially engaging in itself. However, since this was a collaborative project and the students, teacher and artist developed it together, at least that part was engaging. 

17. Did sharing your project with others influence how you will approach future projects?:

Yes, and No. In my experience, while you have an idea of a possible outcome of an arts integrated unit, it always changes. Either due to the way the project evolve from a proposal to an actual project and from there to a “finished” project. While it is nice to have an end product to share, the process itself is really what provides the opportunity for learning. Striving to have a show/sharable product at the end tend to make everyone focus on this and speed through the process, missing some opportunities to explore and experiment. That is not to say, that we shouldn’t consider how we document and present the recap of our experience/learning, we just cannot let the outcome focus consume the process itself. 

18. Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation Science, National Core Arts):

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.7

Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.