Dawn Wirts’ 9th grade Physics class at High Tech High International uses multiple exhibitions to iterate and deepen their understanding of the physics light projects.
DAWN WIRTS: One of the things I think is so important about learning is engaging the students. And when they have a live audience members, they are a little stressed, a little excited. All of that keeps their attention and focuses them into that learning moment. And we had students working on understanding light energy. And students were tasked with creating demonstrations where they were able to show off how light reflects, refracts, or transmits.
BREANNA: I think it was good. It was pretty fun. It was a little challenging at first because our presentation wasn’t exactly working out. But then it got like– we figured it out and it was OK.
DAWN WIRTS: So the students were getting feedback constantly in live time, whether they had created a experience that was one in which the audience member was understanding them or one in which they were still struggling with. And we had over 300 students come in to watch our demonstrations. So then we got feedback from the elementary school students.
And we went back to our classrooms. We looked at our presentations. And then we created exhibitions for our whole school-wide exhibition, where we knew we were going to have audience members that were older in age.
So when we were creating that, we had to go back and revamp our slides so that the questions that we asked and the content that we covered was going to be higher level content and higher level questions to engage those audience members.
LAYLA: I think that helped me to change it for a different kinds of audiences for kids or people my age or maybe older people. And I think for them it probably helps just to keep them engaged and make sure it’s fun for them that they’re actually enjoying it. And so just like sitting there listening to a ton of information.
ALAN: I actually really enjoyed the conversations that I had with a couple of them. There’s this one kid, he was actually very interested when I told them that my demonstration, like it can help us find the origin of our universe. And then astronomers say that they can also use a speed of light to their advantage. And when I talk to them about the speed of light, one kid was actually very interested. And he told me what he thought and he’s like, I guess, you could call them theories
DAWN WIRTS: And instead of it being just a one-time quiz and forget it, oftentimes that can happen, that’s just how our brains work. This emotional experience, this one in which they had to engage will be remembered. And as seniors come back they remember the projects and they remember those concepts because of the depth in which they had to go in and really figure it out and learn how to explain it and then both to young and to our adult learners that were coming around during our exhibition.