Very recently, my colleagues and I began working on what we were introduced to as a “passion project”. The purpose of this project is to give us involved the opportunity to dedicate some of our professional time at school towards a project that we think will help our students and the learning culture at our school. As a Math/Science teacher, it was difficult for me to narrow down my idea to something I could see results from over the next few months. After a lot of research and thought, I decided to go with “increasing the amount of visual representation” in my class to see if there would be an increase in learning as well. Of course, through my personal research and through this week’s readings, my hypothesis is and should be, that it will surely enhance the learning. An article that stood out to me from week one was ‘Life on the Screen: Visual Literacy in Education’ where it is quoted by George Lucas, “If students aren’t taught the language of sound and images, shouldn’t they be considered as illiterate as if they left college without being able to read or write?” After reading this quote, I feel this is an obvious choice of investigation.
During my research, I found this ‘Visual Language’ image to be quite humorous, since I once again had to appreciate my own ignorance towards just how much of a story visuals and images can convey.
We are currently working on a Geometry unit in Math, which is in itself a very visual unit. For the unit my teaching partner and I will be having the students construct some form of real life obstacle course (ie. skatepark, dog agility course, parkour course, etc…) to demonstrate their understanding of surface area and volume. Along with the construction, students will need to focus on wood or plastic for the surface area and concrete, as a possible example for the volume within their 3D structures. I will be using the following two images to initiate the instruction and preparation for their project.
I feel that these images will be helpful since both images give unique visuals of possibilities for their own project idea and they both will initiate a great discussion about how they see different 3D shapes being used for this purpose. As stated in the Presentation Zen, ‘Nurturing curiosity & inspiring the pursuit of discovery’, “a necessary element of good teaching is curiosity. That is, demonstrating our own curiosity and inspiring and cultivating the natural curiosity in others.” How I further plan to use the images is to begin discussing my own curiosity towards how and why the shapes and designs have be chosen for the courses seen, which can hopeful trigger the curiosity of the students to discover how they can use the shapes for their own design.
Finally, I will be using the images to act as the main component of the project details we give students as a checklist to help guide students through the project. After all, according to my passion project hypothesis and the visual language image used above, why would my students need me to write out a bunch of small paragraphs to tell them what they need to show understanding of for their project, when they can just look at a couple of images? I’m looking forward to see how this works out as a start and what my next steps will be!