Monday, 29 July 2013

Balloons and #poundlandpedagogy

As part of my experimentation with #poundlandpedagogy I had bought some balloons to use in class. Now, last year, for one of my formally observed lessons on my GTP, I used balloons to hide 'clues' in for the project-based lesson we were doing. This year I decided to use the balloons to pose questions to the class to try and answer throughout their lesson.

On each of 7 or 8 balloons I wrote a question, the session below involved quadratic sequences, and in the balloon (prior to blowing them up) I placed the answer to the question on a piece of paper. The idea was, throughout the lesson, where we looked at quadratic sequences, if a student felt they could answer the question on any of the balloons they would let themselves be known and I would come and check their workings. If and when they did this they would then be allowed to come and pop (very carefully) the balloon they had answered with the magic balloon popperer (a compass). Out would fall the answer to that balloon's question and they would then win a prize (also got as part of #poundlandpedagogy).

Here are the balloons...


 It wasn't long on entering the class that my students immediately asked what the balloons were for.

The questions they had to answer were those that were only possible having learnt what they did in the main part of the lesson (unless, like one of my students, they clearly had some prior knowledge of quadratic sequences...he popped a few). This meant that the attention I got from the students was even greater than usual, with them all craving the knowledge to be able to answer the balloon questions and pop them to reveal if they were correct. I only checked their answers initially to ensure I didn't have 7-8 popped balloons with no correct answers.
It is definitely something that I will look to do again. It creates a great amount of intrigue, motivation and desire in the students. It also brings a great competitive element to the lesson to see who can be first to answer each question/pop a balloon.

I also used the string I bought as part of #poundlandpedagogy to hang them up next to the board!

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