Teacher’s Center

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March, 2011 Blog - Active Learning in the Classroom

Over the past six months, I’ve been posting information on active learning strategies in a variety of contexts: adopting INTERACT simulations to current events with “Black Gold” to explore oil spills and “Gateway” and “Immigrant Journeys” to help students understand U.S. Immigration policies; exploring ways active learning strategies can help address the national dropout problem; incorporating active learning strategies into Advanced Placement classes; and looking at how active learning can help prepare students for the 21st century global economy.

 

I recently came across an article on how a very innovative school is incorporating active learning strategies in its 5th and 6th grade classes. The Presentation School in Sonoma, California, is a K-8 private school that features a broad range of academic and extracurricular experiences for its students. The school’s website features a section on academic life, highlighting the curriculum, field study experiences, the garden/ecology club, student council and INTERACT simulations. Under the title “Innovative Hands-On Learning,” there is an exciting account of how 6th grade students discovered the wonders of Ancient Egypt and Greek Mythology through INTEREACT simulations “Ancient Egyptian Civilizations” and “History and Culture of Ancient Greece.”

 

In “Egypt,” students participated in a wide range of activities including 3-D mapmaking, using Egyptian numbers and hieroglyphs, studying Ancient Egyptian myths and participating in a festival and living museum. In “Greece,” students explored democracy, geography, religion, art and drama, math and science in their study of the lasting impact of Greek civilization. Teams built temples, produced mini-dramas, participated in athletic events, and debated the day’s important issues.

 

Fifth graders participated in several units tied directly to the science curriculum. These included INTERACT’s “Code Blue” simulation. Working in cooperative groups, students explored different specialties such as the circulatory, nervous, and digestive, systems and developed visual aids to teach their teammates about the inner workings of the human body. Students then conducted a public health forum for parents and students.

 

 

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