For the last two weeks in CEP800, we have reviewed many learning theories. This week, we were tasked with creating a digital story about a learning theory, a learning experience, and how students’ prior knowledge and/or our teaching strategies affected what students understood. I thought for a long time about what topic would work, and ultimately decided to focus on my math lessons. Teaching a new grade this year really opened my eyes to the importance of activating students’ prior knowledge, and I felt like I could tell my third graders, “Hey, you learned this last year, because I taught second grade last year…” and it would help me figure out what I needed to reteach before moving on.
I decided to focus on precise measurement, because this was a big learning goal for my third graders this year. Each student had different prior knowledge about fractional parts, so that really influenced how well they grasped (or, didn’t grasp) measuring to the nearest quarter-inch on a ruler/measuring tape (spoiler alert: not many grasped the concept immediately). I quickly realized I needed to try a different teaching strategy to help my students to achieve understanding. Simply telling students to find the quarter-inch mark without having a solid background of fractions/fraction bars really proved difficult for them!
You can experience my digital story by clicking here. I focused on Piaget’s Adaptation view in terms of conceptual change (assimilation, accommodation, disequilibrium, and equilibrium), and focused on the process my students underwent in order to come to a more solid understanding of precise measurement. Enjoy!