Have you ever had that class that was just stacked with the “worst” students? (I use quotation marks here because I really enjoyed these students as people. However, they really struggled with the role of student — from coming to class regularly to being present in class while they were there to really getting anything done at all). The ones who…
>> had failed 9th grade ESS at least twice (yep, third try for these ones!)
>> had all sorts of SHHHH going on at home (and could care less about what they did in school)
>> were in and out of alternative ed settings
>> were for sure NOT at grade level
>> were known to put their head down all class, wander the room, pick a fight, lose it over a notebook, and sometimes even just walk out.
I was there. And oh yah, it was the FOURTH BLOCK! That said, discovery-based learning transformed my classroom. I found that even THESE STUDENTS could be successful in doing some COMPLEX THINKING and LEARNING when I used discovery-based learning strategies. It didn’t matter that they had never learned this way before, it didn’t matter that they knew nothing of what I’d consider “prerequisite knowledge.” We made it work, and THEY DID THE WORK.
If you would like to learn more, check out this live video I did in the NGSS for Middle and High School Science Teachers Facebook group.