How "Playing Dumb" Can Make Kids SMART!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by time out, May 1, 2012.

  1. time out

    time out Comrade

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    May 1, 2012

    Higher order thinking has been the buzz word, um phrase, for a while. Throughout the year my students have been accustomed to explaining the “why” and “how” of things. But today, something special happened. Not only were the students wholly engaged in the lesson, they were determined to make me see their point of view.

    I was introducing the concept of capacity. Something that was supposed to be a 5 minute “engage” activity ended up taking the entire hour! But that’s another story for another day. By the end of the hour, we were trying to figure out how many cups of rice would fill a pitcher. It was 12. Then we wanted to see how much rice would fill a cup. So, of course, I grabbed my spoon. It was 15. I wrinkled my brow and gazed up to the ceiling. “Hmm. It took 15 to fill the cup and only 12 to fill the pitcher. Oh, that must mean the cup can hold more than the pitcher. The cup has a greater capacity!” Boy, you should have seen their reaction. Heads shaking, fingers wagging, voices protesting. “You used a spoon, Ms. --! That’s wrong. That’s wrong!” That’s when I looked confused. “Okay then. Take out your journals and explain why I’m wrong.” You should have seen their entries.

    I know this isn't a groundbreaking technique but it sure is effective.
     
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  3. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    May 1, 2012

    That was a nice post to read.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 1, 2012

    That's really cute and it makes so much sense :)
     
  5. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    May 2, 2012

    I love doing that :) Especially with little kids, their reactions can be so cute! I do it with big kids sometimes too, but they know it's just me messing with them so they play along but they're rolling their eyes at the same time...
     
  6. time out

    time out Comrade

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    May 2, 2012

    That's an interesting perspective. It worked like a charm with my first graders but I'm moving to third next year. I'll have to be more subtle...
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 2, 2012

    Oh, the same thing works with high school kids. You have to find the ways to make them think.

    I did it yesterday with my sophomores-- asked a "no brainer" type of quesition that made them stop for a second, then a dozen hands went up. It's that second that made them stop that I was going for, and I got it.

    I'm not sure that it necessarily "makes kids smart." But it is a useful technique in getting them to think.
     
  8. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    May 2, 2012

    I love it when what you think will be a minor activity takes off like that. I just redo my plans at the end of class: well getting "behind."
     
  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    May 2, 2012

    I do this every year when I introduce the scientific revolution. I explain that for them to understand the history they need a brief lesson on how the universe functions scientifically. I then go on to explain the geocentric theory as fact. It usually take about 5 minutes of explanation with my middle schoolers before someone has the guts to pipe in and say something. It takes about 10 seconds after that for the rest of the them to pile on.

    Experiencing them try to explain why we can't feel the Earth moving is a true joy.
     
  10. time out

    time out Comrade

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    May 2, 2012

    Completely agreed. I was trying to think of a catchy title though :)

    That's awesome that it works with high schoolers too. Definitely have to keep that poker face on!
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    May 2, 2012

    Yes, questions that get kids to think works. They should be uncovering concepts and exploring ideas. It's more meaningful that way. When we just try to pour knowledge into them, it doesn't work very well. They don't hold a true understanding, nor is it information that is very meaningful for them until they can piece it all together. This is why I love creating units around big ideas. They have to explore and uncover information. Everyday we are actively searching to understand the big idea, but they are the ones putting in the work.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    May 2, 2012

    I'm confused. Doesn't it depend on how hungry he is? :unsure:

    Couldn't help myself.

    But it was a great post! Really, we can teach students to think critically and engage without making the classroom a circus of fun-filled activites. But I bet if you asked the kids if it was fun they would say yes.
     
  13. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    May 2, 2012

    Isn't this also called the "Columbo" method??

    :lol:
     
  14. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    May 3, 2012

    Great job. Let them do the work!!!
     

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