Day 4: Adapting board meetings to a large class

I made a slight adjustment for our second board meeting of the year to try and better suit the needs of a very large class. Rather than get in a circle and give them all some time to silently reflect, I had the groups leave their boards at their desks and walk around the room to make observations of the other boards a la “Gallery Walk.” I suggested they jot down their observations as they made the rounds. Once they finished, I asked them to share them with me, and I wrote them all down on the main board in the front as they went along. I actually had to cut their observations short because there were so many. Compared to the teeth-pulling I had to do for observations in our first board meeting, I think I’ll stick with this new method for a while. By the time the bell rang, we had established the connection between the slope of a distance vs. time graph and speed, had a conversation about the nature of time as an independent variable, and also addressed some confusion about recording and reporting data. This year, I’ll be trying something new by holding out on giving equations for as long as possible. I’ve found that revealing them too soon can result in an unhealthy dependence on them at the cost of conceptual understanding. Gotta get them to say no to the plug-n-chug.

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2 thoughts on “Day 4: Adapting board meetings to a large class

  1. Great technique. I think I’ll try it soon! Have you tried leaving one student with their whiteboard, serving as someone who can answer questions about it…sort of like a poster session at an AAPT conference?
    I have another adaption for larger classes. I have a “fishbowl” discussion, where the inner circle is one person per lab group and the other students are outside taking notes. Allows for better ‘dialog’ between these 7-9 people, compared to a class of 30 where a conversation is usually monopolized by a few students. 🙂

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