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MOVIE 1:  5 minutes 25 seconds

Whiteboarding Facts & Ideas About Machines That Help

In the middle of the MTH unit, Earl Carlyon used a teaching strategy from the Learning By Design™ curriculum called "whiteboarding". Howard Barrows first developed whiteboarding as part of his Problem-Based Learning approach. In whiteboarding, students share ideas in a structured way by contributing to a 3-column table that includes Facts, Ideas, and Learning Issues. The facilitator writes what students contribute on the board, which remains available during a unit, so that it can be revisited and revised when appropriate. (Click to see another science teacher conducting a Whiteboarding session on Model Parachutes).

While doing the whiteboarding, Earl emphasizes a year-long theme with his class: that they have to think hard about the problem rather than mindlessly copy information. Notice at the end of MOVIE 1 that Earl adds topics himself when he mentions friction, and brings up issues of Ideal versus Actual Mechanical Advantage. A device's Ideal MA can be calculated by taking the ratio of measured distances traveled, while the Real MA, which includes losses due to friction, requires taking the ratio of measured input and output forces to the simple machine system.

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