The lesson on pan balance equations has a clear purpose. The teacher is aware of the state standard that all 8th graders are to take algebra. By introducing some pre-algebra skills to students now will allow them to build on this prior knowledge when they reach 8th grade. Mrs. Soglin clearly states the objective of today’s lesson at the beginning of class. She tells the class that today they are going to learn about equations and pan balance. She is also providing a visual aid of a pan balance to help the variation of learners in her class.
Mrs. Soglin asks the class questions about pan balance to gain information about what background knowledge and experience the students have with the subject. Many students comment on what they have learned in other classes about pan balance and what it is used for. She also relates pan balance to real world experiences which helps students apply their knowledge. She takes students feedback and builds on it in a way students can relate. For example, one students’ response was about a seesaw and the teacher takes that feedback and adds additional information to teach the class.
She guides students in their response to get a clear answer for the rest of the students. At first, I didn’t feel that Mrs. Soglin referred to previous lessons when teaching about pan balancing and equations. She asked about their background knowledge but never referred to something previous learned in her class. On the second lesson plan she did refer to the previous lesson about pan balancing and more simple equations that the class had done beforehand. This allowed students to take prior knowledge from the previous lesson and apply it to harder problems on the next lesson.
Mrs. Soglin used many delivery methods in this lesson to help students grasp the information she was teaching. She had a friendly environment where the students were comfortable in giving a response. I observed many children engaging in the lesson and providing feedback that was both correct and incorrect. The students were not afraid to share their knowledge with each other. Even if they were wrong or needed more information to come to the correct conclusion.
Her lesson used cooperative learning with indirect instruction. She asked a lot of probing questions and then would build on students’ response. She gave plenty of think time for the students to process what they were trying express to the class. If students didn’t give the correct response she would allow other students to help come up with the correct answer. The correct answer came from the students building on each others knowledge. Mrs. Soglin facilitated the discussion and added new information as needed.
After the class discussion the students worked on their activity in pairs or groups and were engaged in self directing during this time. This lesson was geared toward many levels of learning ability and a variety of learning styles. Mrs. Soglin modeled the learning objective with the pan balance using the visual aid with the scale and a variety of different objects to be weighed. Then she provided additional information using the chalkboard. She engaged with the class by having an open discussion allowing the students to build on each other’s knowledge of the subject matter.
She allowed for students to model for the class. When students were working in groups and pairs the higher level students helped lower level students. She also provided challenging problems at the end of the activity for those students who were ready and needing that extra push. For those students who needed additional information to finish their work, Mrs. Soglin walked around the room and provided one on one help. The teacher uses a few different methods to assess the students understanding of pan balancing and equations.
By having an open discussion with the class she is able to see how much knowledge they have and where they need further instruction. The students give a strong choral response when the teacher asks for feedback which tells the teacher the students understand the information. When the students are working together Mrs. Soglin walks around the class and facilitates the conversations they are having. She provides one on one help with students who are struggling with the content. She gives positive feedback to the children to help motivate them.
While she is assessing the students the teacher can see some areas that the students do not comprehend the information and she then has another open discussion where she re-teaches the class. Then she follows up with sharing peer explanation and modeling. Further assessing would be a good idea to see exactly how many of the students comprehend the information. Some of the lower levels might need additional help with the advanced subject matter. By grading the worksheet, similar homework problems, or a small quiz to provide that information would be useful before presenting additional pre-algebra problems.