The project I explored was “Photosynthesis: Initial Ideas”. I am not a teacher but customized the lesson based on how I would like to teach my daughter about photosynthesis when she grows up. I modified the lesson to incorporate three more activities – a real-life photosynthesis experiment, photosynthesis virtual experiment, and sharing the analysis of the experiment. The activities will provide students with an introduction to the scientific observation process, discovery, and analysis. The first activity was called “How Do Leaves Breathe?” – a simple science experiment that students can run at home before class, without any technology. The activity will encourage students to observe and discover how plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis that is in progress, in a real-life setting. For the second activity, asked students to play with a photosynthesis virtual experiment. Playing with the virtual experiment will also help them understand the relationship between the level of sunlight and the corresponding intensity of the photosynthesis. During the process, students will inquire regarding plants’ energy transformation. Finally, the last two activities will be added after the first class is complete: 1) ask students to take pictures of the final results of their experiment and upload them to Pintrest so that students can share and compare their experiment 2) ask students to share their experiment story using the photos uploaded to Pintrest and to ask questions about photosynthesis in an online small group forum. This last step has three benefits: firstly, it will alleviate any student misconceptions formed during the class; secondly, it will help students scaffold each other’s learning within a group; thirdly, and most importantly, the technology will be used to capture students’ reflections, plans, discourse, and results, in order to help teachers obtain a detailed record of how each student group perceives the project (Linn et al., 2004). The last two activities are important because, as Kim & Hannafin (2011) point out, “social-networking technologies foster a wide range of opportunities for scientists to collaborate and build knowledge simultaneously through distributed reasoning” (p. 414).
Kim, M. C., & Hannafin, M. J. (2011). Scaffolding problem solving in technology-enhanced learning environments (TELEs): Bridging research and theory with practice. Computers & Education, 56(2), 403-417.
Williams, M. Linn, M.C. Ammon, P. & Gearhart, M. (2004). Learning to teach inquiry science in a technology-based environment: A case study. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 13(2), 189-206.