Today two 6th grade classes from Upton Middle School are connecting to Fort Worth Museum of Science and History for their Geometric Transformations program. We had a morning session, and now we have the afternoon session.
Anne, the presenter, does a great job of breaking the ice at the beginning. She has some neat management tricks as well. She asks the teacher (by name) to call on students to answer. She asks the students to take a deep breath and hold it… “OK, now that you’re listening, you can breathe out.” She has a great rapport with middle school students and helps them feel comfortable with the program.
The program is built on hands-on activities done with strips of paper. Students fold, tape, predict what will happen, and draw on the shapes to test theories. Throughout the program, Anne asks the students to predict what will happen, asks them questions to probe their thinking, visualize what might happen if they cut in a specific place, and involves them fully. “I want everyone else to decide in your own mind what you think you will get.” Think time, and wait time are used judiciously throughout the program as well.
Fort Worth was the first Texas content provider to win the Teachers’ Choice Award that we run every year (they won last year). I can definitely see why. Their programs are full of interaction, student thinking, and hands-on engagement with the topic. This was our first program with them, and we will definitely be coming back again! My only wish is that their scheduling procedures were a little easier.