Having been a Para Educator since 1994, serving both Special Education as well as General education children, I have had countless opportunities to observe incredible teachers in action. In fact, one of my most vital responsibilities is to collect observational data on various special education students and their IEP goals. This allows the teacher to generate reports of student progress and to help in modifying goals and objectives as needed. It is unfortunate that the writing of this paper falls during the summer months making it impossible to conduct a formal observation of a specific lesson plan in real time.
Therefore, the focus of this presentation shall be a lesson plan which was located in the database of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, an organization dedicated to providing enriching, meaningful mathematics curriculum while ensuring availability for all students. This particular lesson plan is a multi-dimensional lesson, or a better an investigation, written by Laurie St. Julien (2008) and printed in the publication Teaching Children Mathematics. It has been generated toward third graders as a means to “pose their own mathematical questions from real data” (St. Julien, 2008, pg. 506)
Before performing any critique of a lesson plan, it is first helpful to identify the basic philosophies that provide its foundation. In a course structured around empowerment through group dynamics conducted by Brunson and Vogt (1996), the results correlated with the theology that “an empowering educational philosophy promotes trust, collaborative learning and tolerance for ambiguity”. (Brunson & Vogt, 1996, pg. 73) Pragmatism is a philosophy that centers not on the simple passing of knowledge from teacher to student, but around the teacher and student acting as co-learners in the educational process. Stallones, 2011)
Introduction A. Background To achieve the Content Standard (Standar Isi) in the curriculum which covers the Competency Standard (Standar Kompetensi (SK)) and the Basic Competency (Kompetensi Dasar(KD)), students should go through the teaching and learning process. Educational Ministry Regulation number 41, the year of 2007 about the Process Standard states that every school teacher should make ...
Pragmatic teachers believe that in order for children to flourish, they must be provided with opportunities to create their own knowledge through experience with the real world in a social context. This Pragmatic theology can be traced back to philosopher John Dewey (1859 – 1952).
He saw education as the process of reconstructing knowledge through experiencing the real world; seeing Philosophy as a discipline that required constant change, paradoxically requiring the same reconstruction in education. Neubert, 2009)
Following this school of thought, students are guided to generate their own questions, and to use scientific means to come to their own conclusions. This seems to go in tandem with the 7000 Pancakes lesson plan, centered on the theme of the incredible weekend output of the busiest International House of Pancakes in the country. This is quite pragmatic in that it clearly relates to a real world construct familiar to most children, as well as the fact that this particular pancake house just happens to sit next to Disneyland.
The students have not been asked to arrive at a singular conclusion, but rather to hypothesize and test their theories, problem solve solutions to and adjust their assertions. This is done in a systematic way over more than one period. (St. Julien, 2008) They are also asked to generate and share their own small group generated questions, This allows for the development of scientific analysis and critical thought, particularly when coupled with the opportunity to scientifically attempt to answer each other’s questions through experience.
In addition, Pragmatism favors the merger of various disciplines, in this case the blending of mathematics and science. The lesson plan includes an element that focuses on the eggs that are needed to create various numbers of pancakes in various time increments; however it also questions the properties of the egg and how they change when prepared differently embodying a scientific component to the lesson.
Henry Hazlitt well-stipulated his message in Economics in One Lesson, which distinguishes good economists from bad economists. He states that many economists overlook the long-term consequences of a policy and mainly focused to benefit only a particular group as a result of a unique characteristic of the market – that is the driving self-interest of each member of the society (1952). In other ...
This is accompanied by hands on demonstration of all of the aforementioned components, even culminating in a pancake breakfast! St. Julien, 2008) The real world connection in every aspect of this lesson, and the scaffolded guidance required by the teacher to implement it effectively, shows the true pragmatic nature of the lesson and its creator. The strengths of the lesson in question are numerous. The social requirements within the various groups and in the numerous opportunities for open discussion provided a psychosocial aspect to this lesson. These social skills are vital in every aspect of adult life, beyond the practicalities of mathematics.
This is support by Siegel (1995) in her assertion that “learning is a social process in which learners actively construct their understandings”. (Smith, 1995, pg. 407) By using the real world construct of the familiar pancake house, and the visual aids that the lesson facilitates the students in developing a vested interest in investigating the questions that naturally arise through scientific analysis. The hypothesis and analysis process that resulted were well established and right on target for the inquisitive mind of a third grader.
Allowing them to tactilely handle the different components of the pancakes allowed them to commit the information to memory in meaningful ways, allowing them to apply this new knowledge to other situations. The scientific component is also a major strength, however I believe yet another discipline could have been added to this lesson; I would also ask them to keep a scientific journal chronicling the experience as well as write a short reflective essay at the end to tie in the language aspect as well. To find any other fault with the lesson plan in question or to better it would prove to be extremely difficult.
As we progress through the decades with advancements in electronics, science and technology we must not forget the basis of our modern day sources of transportation. I would like to explicate a system in which I am fairly familiar with and have been the highlights of my interests. This is the recent power developments and characteristics of a four-cycle engine. Also known as the Otto cycle engine, ...