[IAEP] Lesson plans needed (was Re: Release 8.2.0 -- pls add critical features (Greg Smith))

Kim Rose kim.rose at vpri.org
Mon Jul 7 19:09:05 CEST 2008

Hello, Ed & others -

A complete PDF of the "Powerful Ideas in the Classroom" book can be  
downloaded here:

Note if you print it out, it is set up for double-sided copying so  
you'll print out some blank pages to force the correct pagination.

This contains the "sequence for 5th graders" that Alan refers to in  
his email.

This book came out of several years of the process Alan describes --  
iteration and reiteration between BJ Conn, the classroom teacher,  
myself, Alan and others on our team and feedback from students via  
observation of their use and discussion and debriefing with students  
during classroom sessions and at close of semester or every few  
months.  Projects and the timing of when to go on to the next, was  
modified as we worked with the kids and learned more about their  
learning curve(s), how some concepts took longer and required more  
time, others less, etc., etc.  As Alan mentioned, it was after 3  
years of in-class testing and many many hours of out of class  
meetings that BJ and I wrote up the projects -- note both on computer  
and off computer activities -- that became this book.

  -- Kim

On Jul 6, 2008, at 6:05 PM, Edward Cherlin wrote:

> On Sat, Jul 5, 2008 at 10:40 AM, Alan Kay <alan.nemo at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Actually, it's not really "my domain", and we wish we were better  
>> at this
>> very difficult stuff.
> Yes, indeed. You are not the expert in the sense of "knowing all about
> it". That expert does not and cannot exist, according to fundamental
> theorems of mathematics concerning decidable questions. But you are
> the one in this discussion who has the most experience with this
> process, and as you demonstrate below, the one to demonstrate to the
> rest of us a reasonable starting point.
>> The process we have done is:
>> 1. someone (often me, or Yoshiki, or ...) thinks of a way to use  
>> the simple
>> facilities of EToys as part of having children learn a powerful  
>> idea in math
>> or science and wind up constructing a from scratch simulation  
>> (i.e. "dynamic
>> math" formulation) of the result.
> Let's do that in public somewhere. I would like to hear a discussion
> of Constructionist education of teachers, textbook writers, curriculum
> developers, and the rest by constructing our proposed processes in
> public, with public feedback. Let us draw on the vast store of models
> and simulations written in every other kind of software from FORTRAN
> to Mathematica, and see what is worth adapting and adopting.
> What do all these people need to understand, and what is the most
> effective way for them to arrive at that understanding?
>> 2. Kim Rose and I think about how this might go in a classroom  
>> with a real
>> teacher.
> Likewise, let us have more of this, more publicly.
>> 3. Kim, the teacher (and sometimes I) will "have tea" and kick it  
>> around.
> Lots more of us can do that. No doubt some of us will come up with
> different versions.
>> 4. The teacher will try doing it including the constructions.
> Let's test all the plausible versions, and compare them. Let us allow
> for the possibility that the implausible will turn out to the the
> true.
>> 5. We will test this process for three years in the classroom in  
>> order to
>> get a decent assessment of whether it is really a good way to do  
>> things.
> The hard part, indeed. I'm getting a glimmering of how we might do
> that more efficiently.
>> (Unfortunately, there are lots of artifacts of every kind from single
>> trials, including the real learning that the teacher needs to do ...)
> I don't know what that means. It doesn't parse well. Do you mean that
> inadequate trials produce spurious results, and fail to indicate the
> proper role of the teacher?
>> 6. We have written up sequences of these for 5th graders.
> Where are they?
>> 7. One particularly good example is the process of going from  
>> learning about
>> motion and the math of motion using computer programs and moving  
>> graphics,
>> to an investigation in the real world of falling bodies, to  
>> measuring videos
>> of falling bodies, correlating this with the "math", coming up  
>> with "dynamic
>> math" to move a simulated falling body the way gravity does,  
>> comparing frame
>> by frame the simulation and the video to see matches and mismatches.
> See
>> "Squeak Etoys, Children and Learning" by yrs truly
>> http://www.vpri.org/pdf/etoys_n_learning.pdf for an example.
> Also demonstrated at the Country Workshop.
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Presentations/May_2008_Country_Workshop
> Beyond the Printing Press: Computers as Learning Environments for  
> All Children
> Alan Kay, President, Viewpoints Research Institute, Inc.
> Ogg: http://download.laptop.org/content/conf/20080520-country-wkshp/ 
> Video/2008-05-20/13-Beyond-Printing%20(medium).ogg
> SWF: http://download.laptop.org/content/conf/20080520-country-wkshp/ 
> Video/2008-05-20/13-Beyond-Printing%20(small).html
>> 8. Talking about why a successful result might not be the end of the
>> investigations
> Of course. This is science, where no successful theory goes
> unchallenged, and the challenges strengthen the discipline.
>> 7 [sic]. Also see the book: "Powerful Ideas in the Classroom" by  
>> (teacher) B.J.
>> Conn, and (researcher) Kim Rose for many more examples
> Is there a repository of such examples that the profession can  
> contribute to?
>> Our experience has been that this is by far the most difficult  
>> part of
>> introducing different ideas into education (with or without a  
>> computer).
> I have been suggesting that we create a larger version of this process
> and invite everybody into it, including the children. Now that we know
> for sure that computers will be in the classroom, and that one per
> child is the only acceptable ratio, we should have a bit less
> resistance from the establishment. We also need to design the process
> to accommodate teachers and students speaking a variety of languages.
> Sugar software and Constructionist education practice is at the stage
> that movable-type printing was in from 1450-1500. Everything printed
> in that period is a museum piece known as an incunabulum. We cannot
> avoid the coming decades of software incunabula, of groping and trying
> and trying again. But we know that the immediate benefits are huge,
> that a period of sound professional practice can follow with vastly
> greater benefits, and that sound practice will never be able to stand
> still for long.
> The last century has seen confident predictions of the end of science,
> the end of mathematics, and the end of history. Poppycock. Our
> ignorance is by definition vastly greater than the sum of all
> knowledge, and always will be.
>> (Good news) 5th graders will often wind up understanding the  
>> content quite a
>> bit better than the teachers who are helping them
> This bodes well for the next cohort of 5th graders
>> (Not so good news) By in large, what the children wind up learning  
>> is quite
>> constrained by what the teacher tries to do
> Thus the need for usable lesson plans, and a rethinking of schools  
> of education.
> -- 
> Edward Cherlin
> End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
> http://www.EarthTreasury.org/
> "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay

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