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Teacher Card Sorting Activity Work in pairs, one interviewer and one participant There are two versions of the cards, one for elementary teachers and one for secondary teachers, select the most appropriate set of cards for the participant. Step 1 The interviewer asks the participant to read the set of scenario cards and sort the cards into the following stacks: 1) How I WOULD teach science 2) How I WOULD NOT teach science 3) Unsure While the participant is sorting the cards, the interviewer should note which scenarios evoke strong positive/ negative reactions from the student. Step 2 After the completion of this first round of sorting, the interviewer selects a scenario that evoked a strong positive reaction from the participant and asks the participant to talk about that scenario. The interviewer probes by asking: “How does this scenario support your purposes and goals for teaching science?” Repeat with several more scenarios that evoked strong positive reactions. The interviewer should record the participant’s purposes and goals for teaching science as they emerge from the conversation. Next, the interviewer selects a scenario that evoked a strong negative reaction and asks the participant to explain why he or she rejected the card. The interviewer may need to probe by asking, “What aspects of the scenario would need to be changed before you could place the card in the first stack?” Again, the interviewer should record the participant’s purposes and goals as they emerge from the conversation. Step 3 After the initial sorting of the cards and the follow-up discussion, the focus shifts to the cards in the first stack, those scenarios that represent how the participant would teach science in their own classroom. The interviewer asks the participant to re-examine the cards in the first stack and place the cards in a continuum. The participant is asked to place the cards that best represent how they would teach science to the far left of the continuum. After completing the continuum sort, the interview asks the participant to describe the decision-making process in sorting the cards. The interviewer probes by asking, “How does this scenario represent your purposes and goals for teaching science?” After identifying smaller subsets of scenarios, ask the participant, “How are these cards alike?” By asking the participant to explain his/her rationale in sorting the cards on a continuum, the interviewer is seeking to elicit the participant’s central purposes and goals for teaching science. Elementary Teacher Card Sorting Activity Cards 1 You, as a teacher, are teaching a unit on space. Each day during the unit you read to the class from a chapter book about the solar system. After reading about a particular planet, you ask students to make a statement about the planet. You record these statements on the board for inclusions in a letter sent home to parents at the end of the day. 2 You, as a teacher, want to teach about insects. You decide the best way to do this is to have children cut out pattern body parts and assemble these into an insect that is put on the bulletin board. 3 In a unit on cells, you, as a teacher, decide that the best way to learn about parts of a cell is for students to assemble a “jello cell,” where various shaped candies represent different cell parts. 4 You, as a teacher, begin a new unit by asking students what they already know about the topic. You use a KWL chart to record the students’ prior knowledge. 5 You, as a teacher, have students observe earthworms and generate questions about earthworm behavior. Each small group designs and carries out their own experiment to test a hypothesis related to the group’s questions. 6 You, as a teacher, require your students to participate in the school’s Science Fair. You remind students and parents that the act of doing science is more important than the results. 7 Your students are intrigued with a toy water rocket that a classmate has brought to school. As a group, the students identify questions and ways to explore how the rocket works. You help the students organize into investigation teams. You investigate along with the students. 8 You, as teacher, teach a recycling unit by presenting important information about recycling to your students. 9 You, as teacher, encourage students to explore their own interests about the natural world. One of your students looks up information about whales while another student sets up an investigation to study bread molds. 10 You, as a teacher, set up learning centers for a unit on Newton’s Laws of Motion. Using resource books from your school’s library, you select a variety of fun, easy-to-do activities. 11 You, as a teacher, want your students to learn about simple machines. You decide the best way to do this is to provide the students with broken household gadgets and appliances to take apart. 12 You, as a teacher, set up a “Sink or Float” learning center in one corner of the room. On a weekly basis, you change the materials available at this center. 13 You, as a teacher, want students to learn the phases of the moon. You decide to ask your students to observe and make sketches of the moon each night for a period of one month. 14 You, as a teacher, want your students to learn about classification. You have students sort a collection of leaves into different categories based on the leaves’ properties. 15 You, as a teacher, give students batteries, bulbs and wires. You encourage the students to find all the possible ways to light the bulb. 16 You, as a teacher, design a science unit around the question, “What’s in our drinking water?” 17 You, as a teacher, place bird feeders outside your classroom window. You ask students to carefully and accurately record their observations of bird activity in an electronic journal. 18 Your students have just completed a bridge- building project. For the next unit on simple machines, you ask the students to make their bridge moveable using a combination of two or more simple machines.
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