Why a Learning Cycle?
Learning new topics must include all levels of Blooms Taxonomy in a spiraled manner. Students must start with a working vocabulary, basic equations, and concepts (Research), then use this information in novel ways (Guide), and make personal connections to the material through the lens of their daily lives (Apply). Students must also be introduced to new equipment and testing methodologies before designing their own investigations (Inquire) for their safety.
5 - Inquire
At the turn of the century, science pedagogy began emphasizing "Inquiry-Based Learning". Many teachers shied away from this because they found students did not have the background knowledge or instrumentation expertise to simply jump into creating their own investigations. After completing the first four steps of the GradeStrides Learning Cycle, students have the knowledge and skill to create their own investigation. There are two different types students could be prompted to do. One prompt asks them to be engineers and create a device or metaphor, the other prompt asks them to design a full experiment complete with independent, dependent, and controlled variables, data tables and graphs, analysis and conclusions. If interested, these can be spring boards for bigger projects for Science Fairs, competitions, and scholarships. But more importantly, students will have the chance to safely explore their own curiosities.
4 - Apply
For new learning to be meaningful and shifted from short-term to long-term memory, students must see where these concepts apply to their everyday lives. They must experience text-to-self connections and see the information existing not just in a classroom, but in the bigger world around them. The application section is always two fold. One part gives the student an everyday application to explore the the second part requires students to use their cellphones or internet images to show where and how the vocabulary words found in the research section apply to their personal world.
1 - Concept
Because modern teachers often use multiple resources for their courses (i.e. Textbooks, Videos, Workbooks, Online Materials), students can get confused when chapter numbers from these various resources don't align. As a result, GradeStrides chooses to use the word "Concept". By using our materials and 5-Step Learning Cycle, once finished with all of the learning activities, labs, reflections, and investigations, students will have a solid understanding of the concept heading listed.
2 - Research
Primary research articles begin with a Literature Review in which foundational vocabulary and concepts are introduced. GradeStrides products do the same. Each Concept begins with a list of related vocabulary words to research as directed by their instructor. Students could be asked to find the definitions, related equations, google images, or other related content from the resources prescribed by the instructor (i.e. textbook, lecture notes, PowerPoints, internet). Students could file this information away in their notes, be asked to share out their learning using cooperative learning techniques, or create a presentation. The vocabulary list could be "Jigsawed" and split up among the students who then share out. The manner in which this list can be used pedagogically is infinite. Because our products emphasize metacognition and writing, students will refer back to this list frequently in their analyses, conclusions and application prompts.
3 - Guide
Guided Experiences are often called "Activities" or "Cookbook Labs". These are "traditional" in that students are given the procedure and prompts for tables, graphing, analysis and meta-cognizant conclusion writing. However, these investigations are unique in that they use only materials found in a typical home, general store or home improvement store. They use kitchen chemicals, garage materials, and office supplies. Quantification is done by using cooking supplies like measuring cups or by using devices designed and calibrated by students.