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Young Investigators and Problem Solving: 

Young Investigators and Problem Solving Nancy B. Hertzog Marjorie M. Klein University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University Primary School Presented at the Young Scholars Institute Riverside Professional Development Academy June 26-27, 2001

How Big is a Tire?: 

How Big is a Tire?

Do SUVs, vans and trucks use the same size tires? : 

Do SUVs, vans and trucks use the same size tires? Bill: I think SUV tires are bigger. SUVs have 4 wheel drive. Trucks don’t. Jan: Monster trucks’ tires are bigger. Bill: They don’t mean monster trucks. Jim: I’ve seen truck tires that were bigger than other tires. Jake: Me, too. Trucks might have bigger tires than cars. Brian: SUVs, vans and trucks have bigger tires than cars. Bill: When I measured the SUV tire, I couldn’t get the tape to measure the bottom. Nate: Yeah. Bill: The ground was in the way so we first measured across. Nate: Yeah.

Is it this big?: 

Is it this big?

Measuring Tire with Chain Links: 

Measuring Tire with Chain Links

The Project-Approach Katz & Chard, 2000: 

The Project-Approach Katz & Chard, 2000 Phase I - To Assess What They Know Recalls past experiences Represents memories of topic Phase II - To Acquire New Information New first-hand experiences Pursue data gathering Predict, theorize, hypothesize Formulate new questions Phase III - To Share What They Have Learned Share understanding of topic Display

Features of Project Work: 

Features of Project Work 1. Group Discussion 2.. Field Work 3. Representation 4. Investigation 5. Display

University Primary School: 

University Primary School Affiliated with the Department of Special Education University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 75 students ages 3-7 1 3/4 year classroom; 2 K/1 classrooms Head Teacher, 1 or 2 assistants Application Process: Portfolio Parent Questionnaires, Site Visit 3-6 Samples of “work” (i.e., conversations, photographs, etc.) Gifted Education - The New Paradigm Developing strengths and talents “Engaging children’s minds”

Curriculum Overview: 

Curriculum Overview Activity Time and Project-Work Social and Emotional Growth Numeration and Problem Solving Skills Language Arts and Literacy Arts and Aesthetics

Selecting the Topic: 

Selecting the Topic Should be accessible for first- hand inquiry May relate to existing required curriculum Complexity emerges with the depth of study

Phase I - Exploring Previous Experiences: 

Phase I - Exploring Previous Experiences Recalls past experiences “Memory Drawings” Dictations Discussions of their memories 3-D Representations of their memories Webbing of experiences, ideas, or questions

Phase II - The Investigative Phase: 

Phase II - The Investigative Phase New first-hand experiences Pursue data gathering Predict, theorize, hypothesize Formulate new questions

Phase III - Culminating Investigation: 

Phase III - Culminating Investigation Share understanding of topic Assess what knowledge, skills, dispositions students have gained Display what students have learned

Steps for Inquiry: 

Steps for Inquiry 1. Predict 2. Gather Data 3. Analyze Data 4. Draw Conclusions

Outcomes of Conclusions: 

Outcomes of Conclusions Generalizations Theories Hypotheses Questions

Children are natural inquirers . . .: 

Children are natural inquirers . . . We need to listen to their questions Encourage them by using "language of thinking" I wonder What if I predict My theory is My hypothesis is

Important Opportunities for Young Investigators: 

Important Opportunities for Young Investigators Questioning Data Gathering Analysis Synthesis Evaluation Representing

How young children collect data: 

How young children collect data Observe Draw what they see Describe what they see Tally, Count Ask, interview Survey Experiment Compare Chart, graph

Salient Questions for Inquiry: 

Salient Questions for Inquiry 1. What’s on roads? 2. What are conditions for making a longer shadow? 3. What conditions do plants need to grow? 4. How does water form rain? 5. Why do some things float and why do some things sink? 6. How does a tree get planted by itself?

Memory Drawings: Recording What They Know: 

Memory Drawings: Recording What They Know

Memory Drawing: 

Memory Drawing

Patterning by Attributes: 

Patterning by Attributes

Collecting Data: 

Collecting Data

Taking a Survey: 

Taking a Survey

What are you wearing?: 

What are you wearing?

Recording Data: 

Recording Data

Topics Uncovered in K/1 Classrooms: 

Topics Uncovered in K/1 Classrooms Animals Turtles Pets Chickens/Embryos/Chickscope Community Measurement in the Neighborhood Family Traditions Neighborhood Our class Nutrition Snacks Bread Foods

More Topics Uncovered in K/1 Classrooms: 

More Topics Uncovered in K/1 Classrooms Science / Technology Weather Shadows/Light Bicycles Corn, Beans Changes in the Environment Paths What’s on Roads Water T.V. Inventions


Theories What are conditions for having more than shadow? Needs to be more than one light There needs to be a mirror or something to reflect Two lights pointing in different directions A window that has sections like the one in my playroom that has a circle and square and can separate the sunshine

Hypotheses About Shadows: 

Hypotheses About Shadows Teacher: Why do you think it's short? Kay: Because I shone the flashlight on top of my person. Amy: Hers is short because the light is far away. Erin: I think her shadow is short because the person she made is short. Teacher: Diane, do you have any explanation for why yours is a long shadow? Diane: I think the shadow is off the paper because the person I drew is tall.

Analysis: Finding Commonalities: 

Analysis: Finding Commonalities

Representing as Thinking: 

Representing as Thinking

Enhancing Inquiry: 

Enhancing Inquiry Flexible Scheduling Choice Time Period Share results of individual or small group work at large group discussion times Model curiosity - "I wonder how we could find out. . ." Praise thinking, planning, carrying out the plan - do not emphasize finished product or getting it right!

Facilitating Inquiry-based Learning: 

Facilitating Inquiry-based Learning Organizing the Day Activity Time Period - Student Choice Sharing Products - Group Time Grouping by Interests Children sign up for activities based on topics of study, student interests, or student projects Activity Centers - Unique Variation designed to allow students to work with materials and to explore specific students’ interests Organizing the Environment Manipulating materials to provide variety in products and topics Provide time for what is valued - Students share interests or projects

Language of Thinking (Tishman, & Perkins, 1997): 

Language of Thinking (Tishman, & Perkins, 1997) Claim to Knowledge conjecture, conclude, believe, confirm, doubt, know, suggest, speculate, suspect, and theorize Intellectual Process analyze, contemplate, discern, interpret, investigate, ponder, examine, and recollect Kinds of Ideas or Outcomes conclusion, hypothesis, option, solution, reason, claim, and theory Tishman, S., Perkins, D., (January, 1997). The language of thinking. Phi Delta Kappan, 368-374.

Language of Thinking: 

Language of Thinking Frequent exposure to the language of argumentation, such terms as premise, reason, conclusion, evidence, theory, and hypothesis, draws learners into the values and commitments of critical analysis. Using the language of thinking in the classroom helps develop learners’ sensitivity to occasions for engaging in high-level thinking. Terms like claim, option, opinion, guess, and doubt alert learners to opportunities to do such things as probe an assumption, seek evidence, identify reasons, or look at a problem from a new point of view. (p. 372)

Sample List of Facilitative Behaviors: : 

Sample List of Facilitative Behaviors: 1. Asks many questions 2. Helps the child to focus and clarify 3. Employs verbal motivational patterns acquiescence encouragement of cooperation 4. Accesses both human and physical resources 5. Encourages responsibility (Story, 1985)

Evidence of Learning in an Inquiry- Based Classroom: 

Evidence of Learning in an Inquiry- Based Classroom Questions From general to specific Transfer Making links to other things they know. Vocabulary Incorporating topic related, new vocabulary. Fluency Generating numerous and divergent questions, solutions, hypotheses, and theories. Artifacts drawings, structures, writings, and conversations etc) for evidence of growth/change in their understanding.

Evidence of Learning*: 

Evidence of Learning* Self-direction Free choice activities related to our topic when they choose to independently pursue experiments, readings, observation, or research. Engagement Quality of the project can often be seen in the level of the children’s engagement, their focus, their enthusiasm, and sustained interest Dispositions Evidence of maturing behavior, self-direction, positive attitudes toward learning, perseverance, respect, self-monitoring, responsibility, and leadership. (Klein & Toren, 1998)

Topics Uncovered in Preschool: 

Topics Uncovered in Preschool Animals Turtles Insects Otter Habitats Pets Trees Paper Clothing Weaving/Wool Homes Machines Bus, Vehicles Gardens Grocery Store

Blending Bodies of Literature: 

Blending Bodies of Literature

Intersection of Early Childhood and Gifted Education: 

Intersection of Early Childhood and Gifted Education Early Childhood Teachers of young children more like guides or facilitators Children select many of their own activities (manipulated environment) Children work individually or in small, informal groups most of the time “Child-centered,” individually focused curriculum Gifted Education Assess strengths of each child and build on this foundation Interdisciplinary thematic curriculum that would offer a depth of experience that would challenge young children on many levels Offered same basic skills at a different rate Interest-centered learning

Please Sign Your Name: 

Please Sign Your Name Sign your name under the category that matches your answer. Which do you think has the biggest tires?

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