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ACE Establishing a Structure Inquiry Based Thematic Studies for Learners Worksheet

ACE Establishing a Structure Inquiry Based Thematic Studies for Learners Worksheet

Question Description

In this analysis assignment, you will establish a structure for inquiry-based thematic studies appropriate for the developmental age of learners. Utilizing a framework of skills, content, and processes, you will explore ways to identify resources including the use of the Internet, and create common threads of study.

  • Create a Word document for your response.
  • Use APA format for the title page, references page, and in-text citations.
  • Follow the directions to submit your final Word document.

Planning begins by collecting all the essential components needed for effective delivery. Knowing the range of development characteristics for learners ensures instructional approaches are age-appropriate.

Part I. Framework

Step 1. Complete the following chart, identifying 3-5 characteristics of the target level.

For example: 4th grade. Cognitive: learning about mysteries, prefer to discover. Emotional: influenced by peers, feelings are hurt easily. Developmental: Age 9-10, early signs of abstract thinking. Social: Enjoy cooperative learning with specific guidelines.

GRADE LEVEL CHARACTERISTICS

Cognitive

Emotional

Developmental

Social

Part II. Selecting a Theme

Big ideas, as described by Lynn Erickson (2001), are:

  • Broad and abstract
  • Represented by one or two words
  • Universal in application
  • Timeless – carry through the ages
  • Represented by different examples that share common attributes (p. 35)

These allow connections between disciplines such as language arts, social studies, science, and math. Facts, skills, contents, processes, and experiences can be shared and enhanced through the lens of common attributes, helping to identify patterns and relationships between major ideas and events. Big ideas help to create depth and substance in a study, providing a range of activities to meet the needs of diverse learners.

How to find a big idea?
Big ideas are found throughout content. Survey a grade level textbook. Review your state standards or the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Library databases or the Internet offer sources for potential ideas. Wiggins and McTighe (2005) identify the typical ways a big idea is determined.

  • Concept (e.g., adaptation, function, quantum, perspective)
  • Theme (e.g., “good triumphs over evil,” “coming of age,” “go West”)
  • Ongoing debate and point of view (e.g., nature versus nurture, conservatives versus liberals, acceptable margin of error)
  • Paradox (e.g., freedom must have limits, leave home to find oneself, imaginary numbers)
  • Theory (e.g., evolution via natural selection, Manifest Destiny, fractals for explaining apparent randomness)
  • Underlying assumption (e.g., texts have meaning, markets are rational, parsimony of explanation in science)
  • Recurring question (e.g., “Is that fair?” “How do we know?” “Can we prove it?”)
  • Understanding or principle (e.g., form follows function, the reader has to question the text to understand it, correlation does not ensure causality) (p. 70)

How does one analyze a big idea?
Consider asking the following questions:

  • Is it age-level appropriate? Check Step 1.
  • Does it have a range of interpretations and understandings? (To create depth)
  • Will it include sufficient content to meet standards?
  • Does it meet the criteria established by Erickson?
  • Will this add value and meaning to the lives of learners? (Relevancy)

Step 2. Identify a grade-level appropriate big idea.
For example: The conflicts of friendship

Part III. Identify Resources

Resources are the primary means of sharing information. Selecting age-appropriate materials requires considering the required skills to be used, content standards, and thought processes.

Step 3. Gather 10-15 resources to support the big idea, identifying how the resource can be utilized in language arts and social studies. Note: Not all resources will meet all the potential criteria. Complete the following chart. You may create the chart or access a Word version of the chart at the link on the assignments page.

BIG IDEA:

For example: The conflicts of friendship

Source

Language Arts

Social Studies

EX: How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

Skill

Genre identification ~ fiction

Content

Text structure for fiction ~ chapter books

Peer Pressure

Process

The nature of descriptive writing

Decision-making process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

Skill

Content

Process

*Skill ~ “specific abilities that must be learned in order to carry out the broader complex performance” (Erickson, 2002, p. 95)

**Content ~ any collect of facts, information, concepts, understandings or abilities associated with a specific field of study.

***Process ~ a “complex performance” requiring a range of abilities and knowledge (Erickson, 2002, p. 95).

Part IV. Finding the Threads

Big ideas will develop common ideas or threads. These appear as repeated words or ideas such as a struggle between what a person thinks and the actions taken. These can also be required skills to accomplish a given task. Finding threads means knowing the content and material well enough to see important connections much like snapshots taken at different angles of the same room.

Step 4. Review the skills, contents, and processes identified in Step 3. Identify three common threads in each section for a total of nine ideas. These can be found in language arts and/or social studies. Write a brief one-paragraph narrative on how the threads relate in each section.

Common Threads

Skill

Content

Process

#1

#2

#3

Part V. Reflection

Reflection is a part of good teaching as one reviews the ideas presented in relation to what may or may not already be known.

Step 5. In a brief 1-2 paragraph summary, address the following questions:

  • What was the most difficult aspect of this assignment?
  • What connections have you identified between theory and application?


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