Week 4: Lesson plans!

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Sunday, June 22, 2014


Simon Patane

Last week Jake, Sine, Sharina, and I made it our mission to finish up the bulk of our research and start on the lesson plans by the start of this week. We finished up the reading as planned and, without breaking a sweat, started on the lesson plans this Monday. Sine and Sharina, the two graduate research assistants, had been focusing a little more on the lessons plans and framework for the project, while Jake and I were focused more on the mountain of reading (now behind us!). Moving into this week we collaborated on a list of potential lesson plan concepts/themes and presented them to Dr. Good in a tea time. This gave us a chance to refocus our efforts away from the reading and keep ourselves moving towards an assembled teacher's guide - while staying on schedule! The list is hovering between 25 and 30 lesson plans depending on how you divide each topic, so we will certainly have our hands full for the next few weeks.

Cracking right into the lesson plans, the four of us and Dr. Good decided that the best plan of action would be to complete one lesson plan each and then come back together as a group to discuss how we felt about the work and what each one of us would take from the experience. Once we did this we would be able to move forward at full steam and finish lesson plans for the entire list, but we needed to lay a foundation first. In the spirit of building a working engine before you go racing a car, we all felt it important to get our hands dirty, so to speak, and really wrap our minds around what creating lesson plans means as a researcher. However, we can't limit ourselves to thinking about our work solely from the perspective of a researcher; the real value of our work will be to teachers and their students, so we made a real effort to think about how our lesson plans will impact all aspects of the pedagogical experience. For my first lesson plan I decided to go with a topic that addresses one of my most profound interests: space exploration. The contributions of African-Americans in physics and astronomy towards NASA and human space exploration is among the topics we found under appreciated in the current resources. While not diving too deeply into the lesson plan, I discuss several NASA employees who have had an impact on human space exploration. Among those individuals are the late Ronald E. McNair and Michael P. Anderson, who perished in the Challenger and Columbia tragedies. I felt it easiest to begin with a lesson plan concerning the sacrifices of those two individuals, as well as others, because of my prior knowledge of NASA's human spaceflight program.

Farewell until next week!

Simon Patane