Looking at Learning...Again, Part 2

Eight one-hour video programs and user guide.

This series provides elementary and secondary teachers of mathematics and science the opportunity to hear from science and mathematics educators and some of the teachers, students, and parents who work with them. Each of the eight featured educators has studied some aspect of teaching and learning and has proposed modifications of classroom practices as a result of that research. A follow-up to the 1999 series, Looking at Learning Again... Part 1, this new series of eight one-hour workshops provides additional insight from diverse educational perspectives. Looking at Learning Again... Part 2 encourages teachers to examine how theory and research into learning may inform their own classroom work. The series visits classrooms to show the theory put into practice and provides opportunities for teachers to discuss, critique, and apply the presented ideas with their colleagues.

Program guides and supporting materials: (PDF)

Produced by:
Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory
in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation (2000)

Workshop 1 - Philip Sadler, Behind the Design
Young children are natural designers and builders, but if their interest is not fostered, it may wane as they move through the grades. This workshop focuses on the use of simple design prototypes that children are asked to improve upon in order to meet a particular challenge. You will see these design challenges in action in middle school classrooms, as well as hear teachers discuss their experiences using designs with their students.
Workshop 2 - Marta Civil, Mathematics: A Community Focus
As teachers, we often make assumptions about the knowledge children are exposed to at home. Sometimes it seems that we focus on only reading and writing; Dr. Civil contends that we need to look more carefully at the mathematical potential of the home and that it is essential that schools learn to be more flexible and knowledgeable about students' home environments. See and hear from Dr. Civil, the teachers she works with, and a long-standing parent mathematics group, and follow a teacher on a family visit.
Workshop 3 - Carne Barnett, Learning to Share Perspectives
Often teachers complain that they do not have ample opportunity to talk with colleagues about their students' mathematical reasoning. In this workshop, you will learn about professional development based on the discussion of cases in mathematics teaching. Dr. Barnett describes this case approach, and a long-term teacher group is shown at work. The development of cases for children in elementary and middle school mathematics classes is highlighted as an evolving approach to furthering the development of their mathematical thinking.
Workshop 4 - Peter Hewson, Conceptual Change
In this workshop, we explore the role played by prior knowledge in the learning of new science ideas. Only when a new idea is understood, accepted, and found to be useful does it begin to be exchanged for a previously held scientific belief. The workshop examines how teachers' ideas about teaching and learning may be altered as they engage students in strategies designed to promote conceptual change.
Workshop 5 - Robert Swartz, Critical and Creative Thinking
Teachers can help students become good thinkers. Good thinkers raise key questions and gather and evaluate pertinent information, thus making informed decisions. But how do we teach students to think skillfully? In this workshop, you will see how thinking skills can be infused into science content instruction, contrasted with direct instruction in non-curricular contexts. You will also see classrooms where teachers have restructured their lessons to infuse thinking skills and, in the process, added richness and depth to their students' learning.
Workshop 6 - James Kaput, Algebra and Calculus: The Challenge
Professor Kaput of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, studies children's understanding of algebra and calculus. Historically, these topics have presented students with significant problems, and we tend to see it as a given that children will struggle with them. Kaput finds many ways of embedding algebra and calculus concepts into the curriculum much earlier in the school experience so that children are no longer asked to think about them as separate from their prior mathematics work.
Workshop 7 - Herbert P. Ginsburg, Children's Ways of Knowing
Children know a good deal of informal mathematics before they enter school. Clinical interviews help teachers understand what children know. In this session, you will see young children's natural mathematical inclinations and watch as they construct their ideas. Observe Professor Ginsburg helping teachers of young children rethink the mathematics curriculum based on children's natural mathematics work.
Workshop 8 - Wynne Harlen, Learning to Listen
Formative assessment is a term that has gained prominence as teachers recognize the value of uncovering students' thinking during the course of instruction. This information is then used to guide the development of lessons as well as provide feedback to students to assist them in their learning. In this workshop, you will see teachers encouraging students to ask questions, thus affording them the opportunity to test their ideas and restructure their own thinking.

Copyright (c) 2000 Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory