Sometimes students feel that some of the work they do in class is merely busy work. From their limited understanding and point of view, they cannot see the value of their homework. One way that teachers can improve on this situation is to provide real world problems as a learning tool.
A sixth grade teacher used a problem in his community as part of his curriculum. The state’s department of transportation was building a new highway. The proposed route went through an Indian graveyard. Many of the people in the community were not happy with the proposed route of the road.
The teacher took his class to the grave site. Using GPS units, the students determined a better route for the road. Back in class, they discussed where the road should go. They wrote a letter to the state legislature proposing their suggested route. They were invited to make a presentation in person to the legislature. Much to the students’ delight, the state legislature changed the route of the highway and the Indian graves were left untouched.
This activity taught the students many things: critical thinking skills, mapping skills, math, writing, and presentation skills. This was a learning activity they never forgot. And they were proud to know that they did make a difference in their community.
Another different type of assessment method is using a classroom response system. Classroom response systems are sometimes called clickers. They look like a remote control. When the teacher asks a question, the student clicks the appropriate button on their clicker to answer. The system collects the students’ information immediately. The teacher can immediately show a chart with all of the responses (e.g. 49% answered A, 23% answered B, and so on).
The teacher can then give the class the correct answer. If a lot of the students missed the question, she can provide further teaching and instruction to clarify and help the students understand the material. Students enjoy using a classroom response system because they get immediate feedback on how well they did. Teachers like the system because students are engaged and paying attention during the learning activity.