Making Student’s Thinking Visible

Why are MTV strategies so important to implement in our science classrooms?

  • Learn more about students/ build deeper connections
  • Pick the brain of our students
  • Allow students to relate concepts to their life, in a way that making learning more meaningful for them
  • Foster a culture where all perspectives are needed
  • Heighten learning for all
  • Allows students to connect with one another & build relationships
  • Allows people to think through science phenomena in a new light
  • Can spark the inquiry process and authentic questioning
  • Can provide a platform or starting point thats sparks meaningful discussion
  • Provides the teacher with insight to inform decision based around instruction and assessment

In this video below, Jesse Richardson talks about the discrepancy between being told what to think versus being taught how to think. I think he has a very refreshing take on many conversations we have had a class. I noticed connections from “Drive” and previous texts we have engaged with like scientific literacy, creativity, engaging students, etc.

MTV Strategy #1: Step Inside

What is “Step Inside”?

Just like it sounds, we ask our students to step inside the shoes of someone/something/ some situation or place that allows for a new lens to see or consider different points of views on various phenomena.

How can Step Inside be used in the science classroom?

Did I just hear someone say meet the scientist?!?! Meet the Scientist would be a perfect way to ask our students to really step inside the brain of a scientist of their choosing. Meet the Scientist could go many different ways, like a larger project, or we can shorten it up and make it work for a class period by asking students to role play and to talk and answer questions as if it was the scientist.

Another idea: Maybe you and your students are doing an environmental justice lesson, let’s say. In this instance, we could ask students to step in different roles (ex: community member, politician, a family who lives next to a polluting factory, etc.) and have students give their perspectives on various issues from their perspective. This could allow students to think about certain issues from a more holistic approach.

MTV Strategy #2: Connect – Extend – Challenge

This is a great strategy to use after your students engage with some sort of text such as a reading, video, presentation, etc. This is a really great thinking tool to allow students relate concepts from earlier in the course, or outside classes and other life experiences to the course content. This allows students to see the fluidity nature of thought and how perspectives and questions students didn’t even know they had can shift when presented with new material. This strategy allows us teachers to see evolution is student thinking. Powerful stuff!

MTV Strategy #3: The Explanation Game

This is a great strategy to use to get students to further explore and make sense of something or some object that they already have some sort of knowledge about. The best way to think about this strategy is to think about an example that could be used with students:

Say you present this object to your students…now have your students look closely at the object by making close observations and drawing explanations based on what they see and prior experiences with the object (with the use of logic, reasoning skills, application skills, etc.). The main goal here is to get students to see how different parts function (in this example with a microscope) and build a greater understanding regarding the relationship of various parts to the whole object.

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4 Responses to Making Student’s Thinking Visible

  1. Evan says:

    Great post! I really like the video about the critical difference between students knowing what to think and how to think. How do you think you’re going to get students to “want to understand” when they’re used to just being fed information?

  2. daigletj says:

    Hey Riley!
    I love the step inside MTV strategy. I think it’s great for a few reasons. The first is that it creates more empathetic students. Being able to step into another’s shoes is a great life skill that we can help our students develop through this strategy. Using meet the scientist as an example of this is great! I also think there are other ways you can use this. After all, Einstein made many of his greatest discoveries about light by simply thinking what it would be like to ride on a photon of light. So maybe there are way of applying it to other aspects of science. What would it be like to be a single atom of carbon as it moves through the carbon cycle? Or an atom of hydrogen as it is put through nuclear fusion in a star? I think there are a lot of great places you can take that strategy!

  3. kamisem says:

    Thanks for sharing some great ways to use MTV strategies in the science classroom! The strategy that probably intrigued me the most from your blog was the “Step Inside” strategy wherein students are challenged to put themselves in others shoes to see ideas from new points of view. PHENOMENAL connection to “Meet the Scientist”!!

  4. wilsonbp says:

    Hi, Riley! Awesome blog post!! I really liked how you listed all the reasons why MTV strategies are important. It is definitely important to have this, especially if outside viewers came to look at your blog! What part of the learning cycle (5 E’s) do you believe the Connect-Extend-Challenge would fall under?

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