It's scarier than I thought it would be - as a self-labeled control freak, it's hard for me to give a lot of the control of the class and the assignments over to the students.
Apart from just knowing the material, I also find it near impossible to properly "prep" for any given day. Most of the class is spent assisting, assessing and checking in with students as they become more comfortable with a proficiency-based format, instead of controlling the pace of the learning.
For the final project in our third unit (trigonometric functions), I've mustered up all my courage and laid it all on the line: a completely open project where they get to pick and design the experiment, collect the data, collate all the information and then present their findings using the method of their choice.
The BYOD teacher in me says "WAHOO!!" The traditional teacher in me is pretty darn nervous, but definitely optimistic.
|Using a slow-motion camera app to observe the periodic motion of a mass on a spring|
The learning goal is well suited to this type of activity: "I can collect data that can be modelled as a sine function, and can identify periodic functions that arise from real-world applications," so it seems a natural fit. I'm looking forward to seeing what the students come up with, and I love the fact that they will truly own this task.
As my husband (also a secondary school teacher) noted - this is almost completely opposite to what we've been taught to teach: no well laid out instructions, no exemplars from years past, not even a differentiated list of approaches for students to choose from. I feel like I'm venturing into uncharted waters.
Here are the guidelines I used to get them started: Unit 3 Project. I would love to hear suggestions, or see how other teachers have tried projects like this in their courses. Anchors up!