Constructivist Teaching

Lesson plans

Science lesson plan 1

December1, 2010                                grade 7 B

Topic: The eye

Subtopic: the pupil

Duration: 35 minutes

Objective: The learners should observe and identify the behavior of the pupil in presence on light and in darkness.

Content: The pupil in the eye behaves differently whenever it is subjected to bright light or darkness. Learners should therefore try to understand the specific behavior of the pupils at various light variations.

 Key vocabulary:                                Supplementary materials

  • Pupils                                      A torch,
  • dilate                                       a pet cat
  • constrict                                  pencil
  • brightness                                note book
  • Darkness.

Preparation:

  1. The whole class is asked to describe the feeling they get in their eyes when they get into the classroom after basking in the sun during recess. Each learner is asked to describe the feeling in the eyes when they look at an open book outside the classroom while the sun is shining brightly.
  2. The learners are asked to name the various parts of an eye per row such that each row is expected to name all familiar parts.
  3. The teacher then asks desk mates to name the five senses and give the function of each sense.
  4. The teacher then finalizes the introduction part by asking each learner to describe the various shades of colors in their friend’s eyes.

Integration

  1. The teacher lifts the pet cat and asks each learner to move in front of the class and as she holds the cat, the learners peep into its eyes and note the color shades, as well as, their sizes.
  2. After all have heard a chance of looking at the cat’s eyes, the teacher asks them to draw the shades and their sizes in their notebooks.
  3. The learners are asked to observe the same cat’s eyes in groups of four then make more drawings on the same while the teachers allows them to agree on one drawing.
  4. The teacher moves to the darker adjoining room and asks the learners to get in the groups of four at intervals during which she shines the torch dimly into the cat’s eyes.
  5. When all the groups have been to the adjoining room, the teacher then asks the two learners to draw what they saw in the two scenarios on the blackboard.

Application

The teacher creates a link between the physical changes of the eye and the lighting that was available. The learners are made to understand that their eyes go through the same procedures when subjected to the same light situations. The teacher then lets the learners pose their understanding of the key terms as the teacher makes it clearer.

 Assessment

  1. The learners should make observations and derive appropriate drawings of the shape of the pupil in different contrasts.
  2. Learners name the changes of the pupils as per the names introduced by the teacher.

Science lesson plan 2

November 30, 2010      Grade 4 Purple

Topic: The Solar System

Duration: 35 minutes

Objective: By the end of the lesson the learner should be able to identify the various objects which make up the solar system and the characteristics of each object.

Content: the solar system as an integral part of the universe is made up of the moon, the sun and the stars. These heavenly bodies are very different from each other though they have a common function

 Key vocabulary                     

  • Sun
  • Moon
  • Stars
  • Day
  • Night

Preparation

  1. The teacher asks the learners as a whole class to identify the source of light outside the classroom.
  2. The learners are individually asked to name the source of light the previous night.
  3. In groups of twos, the teacher asks each to state when they usually feel hot after standing outside. For instance day or night

Integration process

  1. The teacher uses the charts to describe the objects in the solar system where their shapes are distinctively explained.
  2. Similarly, the teacher uses the charts to describe the differences in all the three objects. This is carried out with sufficient brainstorming with the learners who are expected to present their views on the solar system.

Application

  1. Learners are asked to state the differences of the three solar system objects in terms of size, shape and heat that emanates from each.
  2. Learners should also observe the specific time when either of the objects appears in the sky.

Assessment

  1. The teacher introduces groups of three where each member is expected to draw each of the solar system objects then state when they appear on the sky.
  2. The other task will entail listing activities which are carried out at night and during the day, as well as, reasons as to why they are only carried out at the specified times. For instance we sleep at because it is usually cold to stay outdoors.

Components within the lesson plans that reflect the constructivist theory

The lesson plans prepared above depict a high degree of teacher-learner interactions such that both parties play a key role in the learning process. This is enhanced by the increased incorporation of the learners thinking ability in the introduction phase of the lesson plans. The teacher also demonstrates a high regard for the learner’s opinion in the learning process where the teacher moulds the next step based on how the learners perceive the topic. Similarly, the constructivism theory is reflected in the lesson plans through use of groups as the primary learning tool (Koppal, 2008).

Constructivism and its influence on the teaching of science in various grade levels

Science as a life subject where learners are taught mainly through practicals borrows a lot from constructivism as it engages the learner and the teacher actively participating in the learning process. Bruner reflects on the constructivism theory as the most significant theory which describes learning such that learners are only able to synthesize new concepts based on their past knowledge. This is much easier in science as learners who have developed a clear understanding of the differences between the sun and the moon will have an easier time during the solar system lesson. Similarly, when teaching science it is vital to make learners play active roles in the entire process as Piaget puts it the learner should be actively involved. Exploring also plays a key role when teaching science in various grades through as learners have to explore scientific process before they are introduced by the teacher. Lev Vygotsky demonstrates the learner’s ability to comprehend concepts in science as a natural process where society plays a key role. Hence the social background determines the natural growth of the learner’s ability (Foreman).

The constructivist teacher has to apply the five major tenets of constructivist teaching where she/he evaluates the learner’s point of view especially in developing the connection between past and present understanding of the science concepts. Similarly, when developing projects the constructivist teacher has to analyze the nature of questions posed by the project which will relate to the learner’s real life experiences. A constructivist teacher should evaluate the key concepts which learners should understand through close monitoring each day as the learners pose various understanding capabilities daily (Foreman).   The tenets of constructivism are applicable in science learning for instance in the general perception of why certain life process happen. The learner’s point of view may be non-scientific hence the constructivist teacher bridges the gap by availing the scientific explanation. Consequently, when developing science projects, such as “the solar system” the teacher has to develop questions which will explain why the sun is hot than the moon. Such an understanding is of the learner is obtained from the teacher’s close monitoring of the learner in class (Bencze, 2005).

The constructivist theory supports learning through inquiry as the questions posed by the learners portrays their degree of perception of the topic being taught (Bass, Contant and Carin, 2009). Various elements of the 12 science processes were incorporated in the lessons plans such as observation which was widely used. The learners were also subjected to inferring where concepts were related while communication was a vital tool in the presentation of drawings as well as the charts. Experiments were carried out in the first lesson plan for the topic on the eye (Bencze, 2005). Summative assessment was used as all the concepts learnt in class were part of the assessment to determine the learners understanding ability.

References

Bass, J. E., Contant, T. L., Carin, A. A. (2009). Teaching Science as Inquiry. (11th ed.).    Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. (Chapters 1 & 2)

Bencze, J. L. (2005). Constructivism.   http://homespace.oise.utoronto.ca/~benczela/Constructivism.html

oreman, K. (n.d.). Constructivism as theory. http://userwww.sfsu.edu/%7Eforeman/itec800/finalprojects/eitankaplan/pages/ho           me.htm

Kppal, M. (2008). Using National Standards to Improve K-8 Science Curriculum Materials. Elementary School Journal, 109(2), 104-122.

 

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