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By Mark Heintz
Sep 10, 2019

Day 21

Overview of the Period

Class on a Monday can be a challenge. How do I channel the weekend fatigue and new energy for the week into a productive period of learning? On great a start to the week, this balance is seamless. Others…sometimes not so much. As for today, I started by displaying a map of the world outlining the arithmetic density by county. (Not as technical as it sounds) The students channeled their energy into a productive discussion on the map and what the consequences were of having people clustered in particular points around the planet. As a group, they wrote their thoughts on the white board tables using the four-level map analysis to guide their responses.

Next, the students moved tables to review answers and see what others came up with.  After reviewing each other’s work, I gave a brief seven-minute lecture on natural increase rates, doubling times, expansive/restrictive population policies, and fertility rates. Once I wrapped up the lecture, the students wrote questions they had and things they noticed from the global population pyramid found on this website.

I love seeing the students question each other and have their curiosity infect others. They had questions upon questions concerning the global population pyramid. Honestly, there wasn’t enough time to answer them. I forget that when I allow time for students to ask questions, I need to allot more time to have them answer the questions.

Their questions help me plan for the next day. I’m constantly thinking about how to tap into those inquiries to ensure the class time is used to explore those. A benefit of being in groups is the diverse perspective they can give to each other. Each member sees the world through a different lens that ultimately allows the questions developed by each student to multiply and deepen the learning when they share and explore with each other.

One of my jobs is to have them name the learning. There is a lot of vocabulary for the unit, so when they ask questions or attempt to describe something, I will have use the terms from the class. I prompt them to recall which technical term it is. It was a good Monday.