I admit it. I have trouble sitting still. I also spent a part of my life studying neurophysiology. Recently I read an article in the Washington Post written by Alexis Wiggins entitled “Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learned.”
I mentored teachers and principals in my years in administration at the High School Level, the Elementary level and at Central office in the district. I never thought of having the new teacher shadow a student for several days. I was not surprised, however at what they discovered.
Walking in a Student’s Shoes & Why We Need to Move
Students are expected to sit still, shut up and pay attention to the directions. The successful student can sit passively, read silently, write endlessly and regurgitate facts fluently. This is not a skill set that will help them solve real problems in the workforce of tomorrow. It also is a brain drain. You know, that roll your neck, lethargic, intellectually checking out feeling.
Somewhere in every teachers educational training we all came across the multiple intelligences (Howard Gardner) and learning styles (Dunn and Dunn). We memorized the theories and read the articles and wrote responses to the questions on tests.
Research tells us that Kinesthetic activities cross cultural barriers. Students that may not openly participate in discussions may find physical movement and expression with or without props a way to actively participate in learning. Bonus: the brain is also actively engaged by movement.
NASA has a great library of kinesthetic resources. I am going to make it my goal to have one webinar a month on our site with kinesthetic resources starting on May 25, 2016. Here are just a few of my favorites and why I like them.
Getting in Touch with Your Inner Spacecraft
“Getting in touch with your inner spacecraft” is a Space Place resource that was developed in collaboration with the International Technology Education Association and the NASA ST5 mission. I like this activity because the students become spacecraft flying in a formation trying not to run into each other. This activity is designed to help students understand how we get data from satellites to help us with our weather. One student is in the middle of the hula hoop and the other 3 students in the team are on the outside of the hula hoop. They navigate using verbal commands as one or more of the students are blindfolded.
Acting out Science
“Acting out Science” is an integral part in understanding phase changes in the NASA Messenger Mission “Exploring ICE” series. This series is designed for students grades K-5. This series has problem-based learning challenges and demonstrations aligned to the CORE standards and NGSS.
Space Place Musical
I am in love with the Space Place Musical resource. The students sing and dance to lyrics designed to teach the space NGSS standards. Songs like “Planetary Posse” and “Meteor Wrong Blues” engage students and lead them to explore our solar system. The web site features ways to use the songs as karaoke, download the lyrics, listen to the songs and watch the video of each song. You can even have your students put on the whole musical.
Rover Races (grades 5-9) is an activity that involves students in designing a rover mission to maneuver t one student (the rover) to complete a series of tasks using different forms of communication. This resource provides alignment to the NGSS standards and CORE standards as well as in depth teacher’s guide. It is designed in the 5E lesson plan format.
Now- with summer programming looming on the horizon -Let’s Move it!
By Susan Kohler
Education Specialist, NASA STEM EPDC
Glenn Research Center