Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sparking Student Inquiry via Real Events

So, 9/11 was yesterday. Originally, my current mentor wasn't planning on talking about it, but the principal announced that each teacher would indeed talk about it.

Basically, my current mentor explained how a couple American Airlines planes were hijacked and crashed into the twin towers and the pentagon. She also described how a couple thousand people had died. She said that the attack was done out of a hatred so deep that they were willing to give up their lives to fulfill it. She went further by saying that she doubted that anyone in the classroom had that kind of conviction. After giving her explanation, she handed off control to the kids to ask questions.

The kids asked a lot of questions: "Why did they crash the plane into the World Trade Center?" "Why was the plane on fire?" "Were the terrorists caught?" "Were they trying to get attention?" "Why did they risk their lives to kill so many people?" "Where were they hiding?"

Unfortunately, I didn't record all the questions. But, they asked a lot more. Whenever you get the chance to use a well known event to teach content, use it. These students were way interested in talking about 9/11. Once you have their personal intrigue, then it will be easier for you to steer the content into the lessons that you desire. In this particular case, it just led to a lot of discussion on the students' parts which is still pretty good.

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