TaNuj^'s Weblog

A “pushing to limits” pedagogy- 151

Posted on: April 1, 2010

Boom! well that’s how year 11 has started for me and my peers.

How often do teachers recite ” How can I push my students?” well ladies and gentlemen the wait is over –  the answer is 151.PBL in year 9 and 10 has equipped me and my peers with various skill such as organization (time management),use of technology and teamwork, well 151 pushes such skills to its limits. It forces us ( students) to fight our laziness, work tirelessly ( ever since school has started I can’t get ahead of school-work…I’am still playing on my back-foot). We (students) are lead to a path where self-initiative is the key concept for success. Where we(students) find answers to complex questions all by ourselves. Is it easy?

By no means is this pedagogy easy, moreover its harder, in a sense that a lot more work as to be done from our ( students)  side. Prior to entering a classroom nearly all the students have basic understanding and knowledge upon the topic and its major concepts. So how does it all work?

151 – lets break it up:  1 ( 1 hour period introductory lesson) 5 (Body- A lot(group) of 5 hour period upon one subject, solve a problem that evolves around the chapter content/syllabus) 1 (Summing up the chapter test, quiz…)

Introductory Lesson (1st session)

Teachers introduce students to the topic, give an outlook upon the scenario,and the content(learning). One of my electives is SDD (Software Design and Development), for my previous project here is an example of the introductory lesson (on Constructing Algorithms) a presentation created by Mr.Gavin Hays… Content_Release

5 hourly lesson (Body) (2nd session)

Apparently, scientist claim that if the mind is able to focus upon one subject over a set period of time its able to grasp and suck out a lot more information from the content being taught. This ideology is best catered for in this form of educating system. For a whole day, in the span of two weeks just looks upon one subject, its like doing Chemistry or English for a whole day, ( yes that also includes maths for a whole day – 5 hours as well 🙂 ).  As daunting as it may seem, as impossible as it may sound, as ridiculous as it may read. I ensure you, no gain without pain. For this may be hard and at times it may seem tough, having the same teacher in front of the classroom for a whole day, but you know what when you leave the classroom I for one certainly feel proud of myself. WHY? because during this 5 hours I know I have pushed myself. AND THIS GOES FOR EVERYONE. Even the quietest of the student in the class who seem to be surface learners tend to grasp some form of knowledge. So what goes on during these 5 hours?

This time arround I will give an example of my first module in Physics created by Mr.McMohan.I personally believe that an individual learns more by examples, so I hope it helps you as well.

Problem: Wave Model – The Collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

The original, 5,939-foot-long Tacoma Narrows Bridge, popularly known as “Galloping Gertie,” opened to traffic on July 1, 1940 after two years of construction, linking Tacoma and Gig Harbor. It collapsed just four months later during a 42-mile-per-hour wind storm on Nov. 7, 1940. (http://www.ketchum.org/tacomacollapse.html )

How could the engineers design a new bridge, after learning the lessons that led to the collapse of the old bridge?

Release the problem criteria

Determine how a small wind could cause a bridge to collapse and fail catastrophically.

Explain the failure in the context of the standard Wave Model.

Suggest also lessons learnt and outline improved construction methods in bridge and building design and construction from these events.

Next steps

Use Simulations in “Session 1 – Content Release” to go over Some of the Theory of Waves. Both as demonstration and student involvement

Teaching & Learning Activities (2 Hours)

Various teaching activities should be presented to the students that will assist in understanding syllabus content relating to the problem.

Go Over Some of the Theory of Waves (maths in particular)

describe waves as a transfer of energy disturbance that may occur in one, two or three dimensions, depending on the nature of the wave and the medium

Identify that mechanical waves require a medium for propagation while electromagnetic waves do not

define and apply the following terms to the wave model: medium, displacement, amplitude, period, compression, rarefaction, crest, trough, transverse waves, longitudinal waves, frequency, wavelength, velocity

describe the relationship between particle motion and the direction of energy propagation in transverse and longitudinal waves

quantify the relationship between velocity, frequency and wavelength for a wave.

Set some appropriate questions

Do appropriate practicals (eg some or all of Slinky Springs, Ropes, Sound in Bell Jar, Virtual Oscilliscope eg teacher computer with microphone and projected onto a screen, Tuning Forks and whistling make good reproducible waves).


– Answers to Practicals 1.1 (investigating waves in a slinky spring) questions a) to g) do with a quick discussion)

– Practical 2.1 (analysing sound waves from a tuning fork) as a demo with the computer CRO

– Practical 2.2 (observing wave interference) do it with a microphone and the computer CRO

– Practical 2.3 (sound waves from musical instruments) discuss it or play a guitar and read it with the CRO


Inquiry based activities


Comprehension activities

Group problem solving (1 Hours)

Groups will work together using the knowledge they have gained to solve the given problem.

They will present their solutions in the appropriate format.

Presentation & Debrief (1 Hour)

All presentations will be uploaded to a dropbox.

Groups will present their findings and will be asked specific questions relating to their presentations.

1 Hour(3 session) – Follow up and Evaluation lesson

Reinforcement holds great significance for it allows students to figure out where they stand in terms content learning  – strength and weakness. Alongside it underpins the next step for the teacher, for it provides sir/ma’am with some form of feedback, for it may be a test(an in class exam), journal entry…etc. It sums up the chapter, here is an example from studies of religion…

So is this pedadgogy good?

I really don’t have an answer, but yes what I can say is my peers and I have NEVER worked as hard before, does hard-work makes one sucessfull? thats up to you, your choice …Now I think its time for me to get back to my homework 🙂


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