Order of Operations Lesson UBD

Essential question: How does my unit plan integrate best practices and theory of differentiated instruction?

I start with a video with a character that is entertaining. Math Antics has several math concept videos that are entertaining and to the point. I like the way concepts are stated several times. I use the video with great instruction. I start teaching after the video with the first problem of their assignment.  This helps the students to focus on their short assignment, which will allow time to experience different types of ordered operations. As students become confident I will move to individual monitoring and continue to answer questions.   At the end of the assignment the students will use “Rags to Riches”, an internet game with order of operation problems,  to receive immediate feed back on their work (this program allows me to create more games with problems that the students need to practice). On other days I will have a puzzle and enrichment (binary numbers) that will give the students an opportunity to think differently. So, I tried to offer a variety of example to the students learning opportunity.  This has the lesson broken up into two pieces that helps break up the learning.  Students will be able to practice in written form and in game form.  This gives the students a break in between two types of practicing their concepts with different intrinsic motivations of learning.  First, they practice on paper and then they try to win a game.

The daily assignments have the answers that complete a pun joke. So daily, the students are assessed on their assignments. They have to check their answers when they are finished. When the students play the game “Rag to Riches” the students are again being assessed. When they win $1,000,000. I know they made it through the ten problems successfully. Even though I have an assessment set up on the end, I have a record of assessments along the way.  This immediate feedback helps the students to make corrections in the errors they might be making. (Carley and McMillan)


Cauley,K., McMillan, J. (2010).  Formative assessment tecniques to support student motivation and achievement.  Retrieved from : httpp://www.greatschoolspartnershp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/FormativeAssessmentTechniques+Motivation.pdf March 2016

Math Antics. (2012) Order of Operations. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/dAgfnK528RA March 25, 2016.

Quia. https://www.quiz.com/rr/116044.html

Order of Operations

Stage 1 Desired Results


6.EE Apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions.

c. Evaluate expressions and formulas. Include formulas used in real-world problems. Perform arithmetic operations, including those involving whole number exponents, in the conventional order with or without parentheses. (Order of Operations)


Students will be able to independently use their learning to…                                           

·       Use order of operations to calculate numbers in the correct order.

·       Use order to calculate cost when different factors are involved. For example: fees, taxes when purchasing items.

·       Calculate the area of odd shapes by calculating areas of sections they identify and add them up.

·       Calculate formulas in the correct order.


Students will understand that…

1.     Grouping symbols need to be done first.

2.     Exponents are a specialized multiplication that must be done before combining with others.

3.     Multiplication and Division are next and are equivalent. This must be done in order of left to right.

4.     Addition and subtraction are equivalent and the last ones completed in order of left to right.




·       How does the order of operation affect your answer?

·       What would happen if there wasn’t order to solving problems?

Students will know…                           

·       How to solve mathematical problem with more than one computation.

·       How to find the surface area of a pyramid, prism or cube.




Students will be skilled at…                                      

·       Finding the cost of joining a club with fee, purchase and taxes.

·       Finding the surface area of objects with quadrilaterals.


Stage 2 – Evidence
Evaluative Criteria Assessment Evidence
Day 1

1.     PreTest

2.     Introduce vocabulary: Order of Operations, (page 8)

3.     Watch a video: Math Antics – Order of Operations https://youtu.be/dAgfnK528RA This covers all four operations with an emphasizes on Left to Right for both multiplication/division and Addition/subtraction rules.

4.     Practice simple expressions of Order of operation that only contain addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

5.     The next introduction is Grouping symbols.

6.     Practice simple expressions that contain the previous and grouping symbols.

7.     Next we will add is fractions that have expressions in the numerator and/or denominator.

8.     The finality of this section is to apply to word problems that pertain these limitation on order of operations.

9.     The student will work on the assignment.

10.  Student will go to https://www.quia.com/rr/116044.html and play “Rags to Riches”. This is an order of operations game that practices simple order of operations.

Day 2

1.     Our assignments will gradually add more difficult problems. Allowing those students whom are absent or need an extra practice time to master the concept. Exponents and Order of Operations Video https://youtu.be/pNBZPGZNZvA This video purpose is that Fraction are under the grouping symbols. This means the Numerator and denominator have to be done first. Also, the video shows examples of writing in the mathematical language.

2.     The first practice will be with double grouping symbols.   The word problem shows the student where we use order of operations in the real world. The problem presents two areas of grass and we need to calculate out the walkways, so therefore, we subtract calculate out the grassy areas and subtract them from the main area.

3.     The next level of practice is a puzzle where you have the answer and you choose the numbers and parenthesize to get there. You have eight empty boxes to fill in.

Day 3

1.     Todays’ emphasize is on fractions as grouping symbols. Students will practice doing the numerator and denominator before dividing. (Just like yesterday). They will also practice double grouping symbols(p3 pizzaz).

2.     The next level of practice is an enrichment with Binary Operations. (Here is a new binary operation. # means “multiply the numbers, then add the second number to the product”. Example 5 # 4 = 5×4+4 =24

Day 4

1.     Substitutions is the next step in Order of operations. The video emphasizes Good Math Hygiene https://youtu.be/HBVI9oVNyd8 This will help the students that are careless clean up some of their writing habits. The video also uses substitution to show parenthesis are used in substitution.

2.     Our last practice will be Substitution.

Day 5

1)     We will watch a video on Exponents. https://youtu.be/ZJDb7E6aCrA

2)     Exponents will be added the order of operations. (179 1-24)

Day 6

1.     We will build on our skills and practice the exponents. 14

2.     Exponent practice with word problems. (179 25-49)

Day 7

1.     Assessment day. Our chance to excel! Students will show what they know and what they don’t know. This is how they let me know what they still need to practice or details that I need to help fix.


1.     I will grade their pretest and watch for common errors that occurred and help the students make the corrections.

2.     Students will practice the order of operations on page 11 problems #5-27. I will be checking their work as they are progressing through their work.   Students that are absent or fall behind will continue where they left off. The assignments get hard fast if they don’t follow the steps. The puzzles, enrichment and Rags to Riches allows students time to finish their assignment in class.

3.     Students will grade their own papers and make any correction they need to make in their computations. The grade sheet has the work shown for each problem.

4.     Students will play “Rag to Riches”on the computer.   https://www.quiz.com/rr/116044.html This has immediate feedback for the students for each problem. It is played like the game “Who wants to be a millionaire.” Students will be given an order of operation problem and they have a choice of four answers. They try to win up to 1,000,000.

5.     I will monitor their work each day and help students that are still struggling. When there isn’t immediate feedback, I will monitor their assignments and help those who appear to be struggling.

6.     The Pizzaz assignments have the answers on the assignment and are used to create a pun joke. The students will grade the problem as they solve it. This will be their immediate feedback and self-evaluations. They will know if they made an error and ask a peer or teacher for help if they can’t find their error.

7.     The final assessment will be a Pizzaz worksheet that has the answers on the paper for feedback. I won’t give instruction, but they know how to be sure they are showing their work and checking their answer.


8.     The final assessment will have immediate feedback. A pizzaz assignment will be used. Students will show their work on a separate paper, but the answers would still have a match, so the student will have to opportunity to catch error while working.

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After students grade their papers and turn them in I will grade them for accuracy and observe the errors they are making so corrections can be made in the next lesson. All lesson will be graded by me. So I can monitor how each individual is doing.

Stage 3 – Learning Plan
Summary of Key Learning Events and Instruction

1)     Pretest

2)     Simple order of operations. (p11 1-21)

1.     Grouping symbols,

2.     Exponents

3.     Multiply/Divide, left to right,

4.     Addition/subtraction, left to right.

b.     Order of operations on “Rags to Riches” will be used to end the first two days.

3)     Simple order of operations practice with word problems (p11 22-44)

a.     A puzzle where the answer is given and with specific numbers and parenthesis you have to figure out how to get to the answer.

b.     Order of operations on “Rags to Riches” will be used to end the first two days.

4)     Two sets of grouping symbols within a problem and fractions that fall under grouping symbols. (Pizzaz 3)

a.     Enrichment with Binary Operations.(14)

5)     Substitution and Order of Operations. (1)

6)     Exponents will be added the order of operations. (book 179 1-24)

7)     Exponent practice with word problems. (book 179 25-49)

8)     Final Assessment (Post Test) on Order of Operations. A Pizzazz worksheet will be used so the answers would still be on the assessment, like their assignment, and they can check their work as they go. This will give them a chance to fix their errors.

(Pizzaz 3)



Reflection Week 9

In the “who’s cheating whom?” Kohn’s article, has made a great point to support relationships with students. Students are more likely to cheat if they don’t know the teacher personally. The students need to know we care about them. By spending time with them and talking about their interests help grow a bond with them. They get to know what your personality and preferences are. As you bond with the students they are less likely to cheat on the work/tests in your classroom. This bond has grown to a level of respect. I need to take more time to talk with each of my students and give them choices so they can feel ownership by me respecting their opinion in our classroom. Since I work with high school students, I used cause and effect to show them cheating doesn’t work. I have the answer keys out on a table and they grade their assignment when they are finished. I monitor the students if I suspect they don’t know a concept and they magically finish an assignment. The classes have the mathematic skills and work ethic to be great. We have been working on thinking skills and dipping into our resources to apply to our math problems. They have come a long way this year and my hope is with the combination of “thinking skills” and bonding they will learn to respect learning concepts over their grade.

At the high school level I emphasize the purpose of their work is to practice what they need to so when they take the assessment they can show what they know. The formative assessment, in my classroom, is presented to the students as an opportunity to “show me what they know so I can teach them what they don’t know.” This takes the stress of having to know everything on the test. The students know that I will analyze the test to figure out what still needs to be taught and they have an opportunity to retake the assessment. I have learned to use dialogue assessments with some students. I monitor their work closer knowing that their assessment will in different fashions.

In Cauley and McMillan article on Formative assessment, I was glad to see how I talk with the students, feedback, was a motivating factor in my classroom. I will work harder at describing the work they are doing correctly to them. I learned that it motivated them to want to learn more since they were on target with the concept. I did notice that they adjust their seating and lean more into their work. I also have them grade their paper to see how they did on the assignment. If they see a common error on their paper they are allowed to go back to their desk and fix the errors before they finish grading.

As usual it was a great read and I was happy to see I am headed in the right direction. With a few adjustments I am excited to watch for the changes in some of my students that need to improve their intrinsic motivation.

How can I use both formative and summative assessment to enhance (or at least not interfere with) intrinsic motivation? Week 9


Using formative assessments in the classroom. if done right, with immediate feedback can motivate students to take control of their learning. Students need to be informed of the purpose and their role of assessments.   When students know more about the purpose and they see how they can benefit from the assessments they will take control and intrinsically motivate themselves to doing better with learning.

Formative assessments can be as simple as a thumbs-up from students that they understand to taking a test at the end of a chapter. Cauley and McMillan state in their article, Formative Assessment Techniques to Support Student Motivation and Achievement, that teachers miss understand what formative assessment is and that, “Formative assessment is a process through which assessment-elicited evidence of student learning is gathered and instruction is modified in response to feedback.” As teachers we need to gather our information make adjustments to our instructional procedures and give the feedback to the students efficiently so they can adjust their current learning tactics. This feedback can enhance the intrinsic motivation in our students. As Couley and McMillan continue to state, “As long as the environment in which formative assessment is practiced is supportive and trusting, a classroom that demonstrates these characteristics at a high level will have the most positive effect on motivation and learning. Formative assessment, then, is a planned process to the extent that the teacher consciously and constantly absorbs evidence of student performance and then uses this information productively, resulting in increased student motivation and engagement.” Our classroom needs to support students in a manner that they trust teachers and their peers in order to blossom in that environment. Teachers must continuously work at keeping their environment safe for students, so they can be motivated to take a risk and build their intrinsic motivation. Students learn the following from their formative assessment (Cauley and McMillan, 2):

  1. Frequent, ongoing assessment allows both for fine-tuning of instruction and student focus on progress.
  2. Immediate assessment helps ensure meaningful feedback.
  3. Specific, rather than global, assessments allow students to see concretely how they can improve.
  4. Formative assessment is consistent with recent constructivist theories of learning and motivation

When we teach our students what formative assessment does for them they can learn to use the feedback to enhance their learning skills. Students need to learn to value learning and this will help enhance their intrinsic motivation to continue to learn.

At the high school level for mathematics, I emphasize the purpose of their work is to practice what they need to so when they take the assessment they can show what they know. So the formative assessment, in my classroom, is presented to the students as an opportunity to “show me what they know so I can teach them what they don’t know.” This takes the stress of having to know everything on the test. The students know that I will analyze the test to figure out what still needs to be taught and they have an opportunity to retake the assessment. This helps the students with the mindset of this is finalized and they can’t fix it. The anxiety level goes down due to the thinking this is just checking on my knowledge of the topic and the unknown concepts can still be learned. With the anxiety level being lower helps the students to intrinsically motivate themselves to do their best and focus on learning what was revealed by the assessment.

A summative assessment in the classroom can be a final project, a presentation or an end the semester assessment.  As for the summative assessments the students need to know that this is just a moment in time and it will show them where they are at compared to other students in the class, school, state or nation. There is so much emphasize on these test that we have to help the students use the test to challenge themselves to prepare by learning. When students understand that these scores can be a placement in the future for them they can see the importance of expressing their knowledge to the best of their ability on the assessment. By scoring poorly or cheating which inflates their score in comparison to what they know would miss place them in ability level classes. Most of the students want to understand the purpose behind what they have to do and once they understand the purpose they will be more cautious with the decisions that they will make in the future.

Changes need to be made because the stakes are so high that students think they have to cheat. According to Kohn, he states that teachers need to bond with the students in a manner that the students care about the teacher as a person so the level of relationship is a respectful relationship and the student wouldn’t risk cheating. When students don’t have a relationship with the teacher they are more inclined to cheat to improve the grade in the class. Another change that teachers need to make assignments relevant, not boring, or not overwhelming that is genuinely engaging and meaningful to students so they are engaged into the learning. Students’ want to be a part of this class where they are heard and have their opinions respected. School also play a role in creating an environment where students will cheat in order to reach goals or win awards. The good grades, honor roll recognition, and parents offer “financial inducements” for good report cards (Kohn, 2). This needs to change to the process and move away from the product. This competition raises the states to where students will take the risk of cheating instead of learning the concept. Students need to “learn for the sake of learning” (Kohn, 3). As teachers we need to create a classroom that enhances the “goal of figuring out” different concepts that are real to the students. Where the students learn to “think” and use their skills to apply to a task at hand.

By teaching the students to think, brings us to skills that need to be taught and a great skill of presentation can be brought to a another level by using Lewin and Shoemaker four contexts where verbal exchanges are fostered:

  • “Argumentation in the classroom
  • Formal speeches in front of the class followed by questions and answers
  • Rotating mini-speeches to small groups
  • Substantive dialogue between a student and the teacher”

Lewin and Shoemaker give great topics that relate to students. The topics need to be relevant to the students so they will have a purpose for their researcher and be strong in their presentation and not read their paper to the class. When students present, it can be to small groups as well as large groups with an emphasis on speaking not reading. The speeches can be spread throughout a few days so that it isn’t all done in one day. This will help keep the students interest in other students’ presentation. Another exchange is to have a substantive dialogue between the student and the teacher. This will give you a better grasp of what the student knows than what an assessment could give you.

Students need to have immediate feedback while learning a new task. A simple, “atta boy” for a positive comment isn’t enough. The students want to hear specifics of what they are doing is correct and specifics of what needs to be corrected. When students hear exactly what they are doing right it will motivate them to continue to try to learn more. Teachers need incorporate more feedback to motivate students to learn. As students are successful they will appreciate learning and hopefully learn to love learning. As teacher of influence we need to pursued students to do well for themselves. When they want to learn and take the controls of their learning we know we have done our job.

Challenge! I challenge you to share the assessments you will use for your UBD unit, and explain their value for intrinsic learning!

During my UBD unit I will be using several formative assessments.

  • While teaching I will ask for understanding to check how well they are recalling or receiving information. I will than assess my instruction and their learning tactics and make adjustments accordingly. This will help the students to see how their learning skills are working for them and make adjustments accordingly. The immediate feedback that I will give will have specific detail to the task what the student is doing correctly. This will help the students’ confidence and they will adjust their attention to details and improve their knowledge of the concept.
  • During their practice time I will assess individuals or individual problems to see how successful they are doing. If they are successfully working with the concepts I will then look for students that are struggling and give individual instructions. With the monitoring of student work and assuring the students with praise on what they are doing correctly will open the student to taking in more instructions to assure their success with the assignment.  Students will grade their own paper before turning it in.  They will have a chance to make corrections if they recognize something that they did throughout the paper.  They can go back to their desk and correct it before finishing grading their paper.
  • We will use technology for immediate feedback to the students. This program will inspire students to see if they can win a “million dollars”. I will have the students keep track of their winnings. Each time they write down their winnings, they will write down the problem and write the proper steps that should have been taken and if they don’t know they can ask for help.   I know that they had not done the order of operations correctly and I can help them assess the error and make the corrections. This program will help the students with all the little details in order of operations.
  • At the end of the unit we will take an assessment that will tell me see what still needs to be emphasized in the classroom as we continue in other concepts. The instructional adjustments need to be written in the reflection of the lesson, with the adjustment written into the lesson for next year. Student feedback should be quick in a timely fashion so they can decide if they want to study a section and retake that portion of the test. The final assessment is worth 80% of their grade for this section. Usually assignment run about 20 points and assessments run about 80 points.

(In this class I don’t have any students that fall far below or need modification made to their assessments. I do in other classes and I assess those students through daily dialogue.)


Bond, L. A. (1996). Norm-and criterion-referenced testing. ERIC/AE Digest. Retrieved from: http://www.ericdigests.org/1998-1/norm.htm

Cauley, K., McMillan, J. (2010). Formative assessment techniques to support student motivation and achievement. Retrieved from: http://www.greatschoolspartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/FormativeAssessmentTechniques+Motivation.pdf March 2016

Lewin, Larry, and Shoemaker, Betty Jean. Great performances : Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2011. ProQuest ebrary. Available: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=106&docID=10488667&tm=1428975832182 Web. 13 April 2015.

Kohn, A. (2008). Who’s cheating whom? Phi Delta Kappan. Retrieved from: http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/whos-cheating/ 13 April 2015.

Tomlinson, Carol Ann, and Moon, Tonya R. (2013) Chapter 6: Assessment, grading and differentiation. Assessment and Student Success in a Differentiated Classroom. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). ProQuest ebrary. Web. Retrieved from: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=135&docID=10774725&tm=1428975296051 13 April 2015.

Wheatley, K. F. (2015). Factors that perpetuate test-driven, factory-style schooling: implications for policy and practice. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 10(2). Retrieved from: http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter/article/viewFile/261/pdf

EDET 637 Reflection Week 8

The amount of reading was much, but so worth it. I soaked in every word and it took awhile to get through it.  It was an excellent read that I needed to be refreshed about the topics. I want to spend more time with studying on the brain. We are a title one school and I do see the characteristics of poverty among the students. I want to study more so I can help them rewire their brain. I really appreciate how it breaks down the emotions and tell us what emotions have to be taught.

As an elementary teacher, one has to be well aware of the full day of their students.  At the middle school and high school level, the administrations must think their individual schedules through and accommodate their schedules with educational decision that cover the majority of the ten principle strategies given by Jensen.

Sara had shared a great diagram from http://gettingsmart.com/2016/03/growth-mindset-project-based-learning/ . I love how it breaks a fixed mindset and a growth mindset down to their thinking and action. I will use this in my classroom so the students can identify themselves and make a change if need be.

In Catherine’s blog she quoted Jensen with, “Either you can have your learners’ attention or they can be making meaning, but never both at the same time” (Jensen, 2005). This spoke volumes to me in the reading and to reread it in the blog reminded me to post this at my desk. I have to allow the students to “make meaning” of what they just learned. So many times I go to their desk and help them get going and when they finish a problem they look at me and say, “that’s it?” I am excited to go back after spring break and see what the changes do for the students.

As an educator I will continue to study the brain and how it works to maximize the capacity of learning.  As we teach the students in a more rounded environment.  I really appreciated this week of reading.  I purchased the books plus others from the author.  I want to revamp my teaching to include and utilize how the brain works.  I had used some of the strategies with my pre-algebra class.  I knew if I broke it into smaller chunks they would do better.  I didn’t realize that everyone needed it.  Silly me, went by the textbook.  Great week for reading.

EDET 637 Brain-based Learning Week 8

What is brain-based learning?

“The brain is intimately involved in, and connected with everything educators and students do at school.” is how Eric Jensen, author of Teaching with the Brain in mind, emphasis the importance of knowing the brain to educators who work with the brain.  So “what is brain-based learning?” According to Jensen, “it’s the engagement of strategies based on how our brain works”. There are ten principle strategies that educators need to address in order to help students be successful at their school. (Jensen)

  1. Physical Education, 30-60 minutes a day.
  2. Social conditions offers “a sense of reward, acceptance, pain, pleasure, coherence, affinity and stress.”
  3. Brain changes, (rewire) “through skill-building, reading, mediation, arts, career and building thinking skills.”
  4. Deal with stress by teaching “students better coping skills, increase student perception of choice, build coping skills, strengthen arts, physical activity and mentoring.”
  5. “Make differences the rule, not the exception of your school”. Validate differences, differentiation isn’t enough.
  6. Working memory can take in 2-4 chunks of new information.
  7. Arts on the brain “boost attention, working memory, and visual spatial skills. Arts such as dance, theater and drama boost social skills, empathy, timing, patience, verbal memory and other transferable life skills”. Arts need to be mandatory, choices to pick from and 30-60 minutes a day.
  8. Emotional states need to be taught early at home or in pre-school. There are two categories for emotional state:
    1. Hardwired at or since birth: sadness, joy, disgust, anger, surprise, fear.
    2. Taught: humility, forgiveness, empathy, optimism, compassion, sympathy, patience, shame, cooperation, gratitude.
  9. Special Education does work, “but not with inclusion-only strategies.” It should be one hour a day, three-five days a week.
  10. Review material, “every time students review, they might change their memory. Yet without review, they are less likely to recall their learning.”

These are classroom strategies that we can take away from brain-based learning. By using these strategies we are addressing the brain that we are trying to impact. As an elementary teacher, one has to plan your day with your students with these strategies in mind.   As a high school teacher, we need to be sure these are addressed throughout the scheduled day by the principal whom is over seeing the “day of the student”.

How can it inform problem-based learning?

Brain-based learning is a great prerequisite for problem-based learning. Students that aren’t wired for educational learning or socialization can be taught the skills in smaller settings to prepare them for learning in a problem based setting. Another support system is in brain-based learning, teachers are taught to keep the instructions down to 2-4 chunks for the memory to absorb the new information. By allowing students to change groups to work and collaborate with others helps them to exercise social skills as well as dialogue with someone about the topic they are learning. Teachers must know how the brain works and how to get the most out of it and combine that with problem-based learning style where the students takes the initiative to research and learn with their group.


Educators get lost in curriculum and standards and they need to remember the key to students is how to connect to their brain. We know we have to keep them safe and to connect with their interest, but we also must know how to maximize the use of brain-power. We need to modify our delivery of information to our students to help them to take in, absorb, process and implement new information in a way that they can recall and use the information when they need it. With the right scaffolding students can catch up by rewiring their brains by teaching them the skills they are lacking. With differentiation we are offering all students a chance to grow from where they stand to high ground. By offering scaffolding to students though inclusion and time out side of class they can learn concepts despite their genes and upbringing. Students are not limited because of their social economic status. As teachers we need to help ALL students to rise above any limitations that they arrive with by teaching skills that will enhance their growth.

Challenge! I challenge you to outline three “ways of being” that will lead to ongoing differentiation and brain based learning in your classroom.

I will make or emphasize these changes in my classroom:

  • Show a video to start the thinking on the concept or sell the purpose of the concept that I’m teaching.
  • Break the teaching up into 3-4 sections and give time to practice between. Instead of teaching the whole lesson in the beginning, I will stop and let them practice on their assignment.
  • Review; Connecting yesterday to today, review mid-way to a test. I can reteach yesterdays or previous knowledge and show how it is connected to today and what is coming in the future (tomorrow or in higher level math).


Chipongian, L. (2004) What is “brain-based learning”? Brain Connection. March 9, 2016. Retrieved from: http://brainconnection.brainhq.com/2004/03/26/what -is-brain-based-learning

Jensen, Eric. Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2005. ProQuest ebrary. March 9, 2016. Retreived from: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=6&docID=10089220&tm=1428258945648

Jensen, Eric. Teaching with Poverty in Mind : What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2009. ProQuest ebrary. March 9, 2016. Retrieved from: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=28&docID=10375878&tm=1428259489468

Jenson, E. What is brain-based learning? Brain-Based Learning Strategies. Retrieved on March 2016 from http://feaweb.org/brain-based-learning-strategies

EDET 637 Week 7 Reflection

I love the idea of PBL. I struggle with the demanding standards. Since I teach math in the high school the PBL would have to be a unit with other teachers. I couldn’t see putting much time into a PBL and still reaching the topics I need to cover. I would like to see other PBL that teachers have created and see the result before attempting this challenge.

During this week I was really overwhelmed through the reading. I wasn’t sure I was going to grasp the full picture. Every article seem to open my eyes a little more to what and how PBL is used. As I read through the blogs I was still seeing new information and insight that I hadn’t came across. This is what makes me appreciate reading the blogs. I get to review what I have learned throughout the week and learn more through someone else’s research.

I really appreciate the videos that Sara posted. It helped me see a better break down of PBL. I watched a few videos but none like the one she posted. It had a definite break down that would help you focus and be more detailed at planning a PBL.

Twitter helped me see different strategies to use in the classroom.  I seem to forget to use organizers, exit notes, reflecting time and offer a time to talk-n-share.  I like hearing from other teachers what works in their classroom.

I did teach a STEM PBL in my class this quarter, I had the students build a structure to support a book.  The students loved the problem solving.  I really had trouble with the guiding, I know it will get better with time.  I can see taking time to add math games or STEM PBL to my class curriculum would enhance student appreciation for math. I would like to read up more on different lesson plans of other high school math teachers that have had success with it.  I would like to bring different elements of math into my classroom through games, STEM PBL and strategy solving based problems.  I am fortune enough to attend the STEM class that UAS is offering this summer.

Week Seven: Feb 29 Essential question: What practical structures could we use to implement PBL in our classrooms?

In order to do a PBL in the classroom you start by breaking up the learning into chunks. One of the important tasks is to attack the vocabulary that will be needed to understand the topic in the reading or research. As a facilitator you have to plan what the students need to be successful and be ready to help those who will need more assistance. Modeling to students is the best way for them to learn how to think or research for learning. Instead of just showing the students, walk them through your thinking process so they can adopt it and use it for future references. Another tactic is to tap into their knowledge and to use what they know. Allow time for talk-n-share of some sort so students have time to process and connect to the new information. As students try to formulate their words they will be processing what they know with what they are trying to figure out. They are bringing together the past with the new information they are learning. By using graphing organizer students will be able organize their thoughts with visual representation. I believe one this is preparing the students for PBL in our classrooms. When students are prepared there is less ambiguity and the behavior of the students is better maintained. Ertmer, in her article Jumping the PBL Implementation Hurdle, states that “teachers must support students as they learn how to establish group goals, divide up project responsibilities, mange deadlines, and address problems related to group dynamics.” When a teacher has students understanding that they need to take responsibility and fulfill their role in the group it makes their project easier to address the issue and easier to solve the problem. Ertmer suggests to start with a “mini” PBL units to train students how to work in groups and how to tackle a problem by researching answers to smaller problems that will help answer the main PBL.

Scaffolding students means to help them through unfamiliar environment with tools, strategies, and enable them to higher levels of understand so they can perform at higher levels without the scaffolding. There are four important goals teachers can use: (Ertmer) “1) initiating students’ inquiry; 2) maintaining students’ engagement; 3) aiding learners with concept integration and addressing misconceptions; and 4) promoting reflective thinking.” This scaffolding is continued support throughout the project. By posting notes like “support your claim” will remind students to focus on the expectation not on finishing. With exit notes students can communicate to the teachers their thinking or questions they may have. This helps the facilitator address issues that students are thinking about.

Another great strategy teachers can use to structure their PBL is to conduct whole class debriefings. (Ertmer) Students can hear and reflect how their group work is doing and how the other groups are doing. This will teach students to reflect on the process of their group and move to take on more responsibility in their project. With questions, students will learn to think more about the operation of their group and think more collaboratively. Reflective thinking does not come natural and has to be taught. Time needs to be allotted for reflecting on their group work and on the developing skills.   During reflection thinking students are remembering the content, skills and language used in the PBL, which is a great summation of what they learned.

One of the biggest changes in structure that has to be dealt with is the role of the teacher changing to facilitator. Teachers will have to change “how” and “what” they teach in order to make PBL work in their classroom. Changes from teacher to facilitator can be made easier through research, videos and mini PBL. A teachers thinking can be changed through modeling and practice. The success of PBL in a classroom depends on the preparation that a teacher endures. They must focus on supporting students’ learning. Once this mindset is changed it will be easier to facilitate a PBL in our classroom.

Challenge! I challenge you to outline an example of an ill-structured problem suitable for PBL in your blog posting. 

An essential question is posted on the board and the students are directed to write a detailed essay and turn it in. No preparations with vocabulary or graphic organizer. The students haven’t any practice on self-directing and see it as free time because no one is directing their focus. The teacher sees the students struggling on the PBL and starts teaching instead of facilitating. The teacher starts telling them how to solve the problem instead of prompting them how to focus on the question for clues that would help them decide what they could do to figure it out steps to a solution.



Alber, R. (2014) 6 scaffolding strategies to use with your students. edutopia. Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/scaffolding-lessons-six-strategies-rebecca-alber on March 4, 2016.

Ertmer, P. A., & Simons, K. D. (2006). Jumping the PBL implementation hurdle: Supporting the efforts of K–12 teachers. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 1(1), 5. Retrieved from: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=ijpbl&sei-redir=1&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar%3Fstart%3D10%26q%3Dimplementing%2BPBL%26hl%3Den%26as_sdt%3D0%2C2#search=%22implementing%20PBL%22 on March 9, 2015.

Hmelo-Silver, Cindy E. “Problem-based learning: What and how do students learn?.” Educational psychology review 16.3 (2004): 235-266. Retrieved from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=13682403&site=ehost-live on March 9, 2015

Jones, R. W. (2006). Problem-based learning: description, advantages, disadvantages, scenarios and facilitation. Anaesthesia and intensive care,34(4), 485. Retrieved from: http://www.biomedsearch.com/article/Problem-based-learning-description-advantages/188739780.html On March 9, 2015.

Moust, J. H., Berkel, H. V., & Schmidt, H. G. (2005). Signs of erosion: Reflections on three decades of problem-based learning at Maastricht University. Higher education, 50(4), 665-683. Retrieved from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=18458673&site=ehost-live on March 9, 2015

Ravitz, J. Scaffolding project based learning: tools, tactics and technology to facilitate instruction and management. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/2828003/Scaffolding_Project_Based_Learning_Tools_Tactics_and_Technology_to_Facilitate_Instruction_and_Management on March 5, 2016.

Solomon, G. (2003). Project-based learning: A primer. TECHNOLOGY AND LEARNING-DAYTON-, 23(6), 20-20. Retrieved from: http://pennstate.swsd.wikispaces.net/file/view/pbl-primer-www_techlearning_com.pdf on March 9, 2015.