Flipping for Science at Magee Secondary

This school year, Norman Jay wanted to revamp his teaching strategy in order to connect and engage all learners in his Science classroom. With a Tier 2 Classroom-based Solution from SET-BC, Norman was able to begin the process of introducing his high school students at Magee Secondary in Vancouver to the idea of a flipped classroom. Flipped classroom is an instructional strategy that reverses the standard or “typical” learning environment where the teacher stands in front of the classroom, provides content and material on the lesson and students answer questions based on the teacher’s presentation. In a flipped classroom setting, the material or content is delivered to the students prior to the start of the lesson, which would normally be in a video format. Watching the video becomes part of their “homework.” When the students arrive to their class, they would already have viewed the content and the teacher is then able to adjust the structure of the lesson to make the most of the content being explored. It would be less teacher centred as the teacher does not have to spend part of the lesson delivering the core concept, but instead there would be more time to have meaningful discussions or to have students engage in hands on activities or experiments.

Toy car designed by students to experiment on physics theoryEducational videos ranging from the lifecycle of a butterfly to balancing chemical equations to learning how to read musical notes, can be discovered all over the internet. Sites like Khan Academy offer ready-made videos on a variety of educational topics. For Norman, he wanted to have more control over his videos so he chose to create the videos himself and upload them onto his own YouTube Channel. Students would then be responsible for viewing the video the day before and be ready to participate in the lesson the next class. Using an iPad and a screencasting software program on his computer, Norman was able to demonstrate, explain in his own voice and record the concept of the lesson in a thoughtful and deliberate manner. The videos ranged from 2 to 10 minutes. Having iPads in the classroom also allowed the students to re-watch the videos in order to refresh their knowledge during class time. His YouTube nickname is Mr. Krabappel and can be viewed here http://bit.ly/2nvQW7v

Norman reports, “I think one of the most powerful reasons for flipping the classroom is the amount of prep time teachers liberate which can be used for other things, so doing it correctly the first time will ensure you won’t need to recreate the lessons annually.”

designing toy cars in classroomOn one particular day, students in Norman’s Physics 11 class were conducting an experiment on forces, momentum and velocity exemplifying Newton’s Laws of Motion. Students designed a toy car using materials like buttons and paper clips for the wheels and a 3D printer to print the car’s body. The car would then be tested on a toy ramp and the winner would be the car that sped down the toy ramp the fastest and the furthest. This engaging and interactive activity allowed all learners in Norman’s class to participate and collaborate because there was less focus on lecturing and delivering the lesson’s content; there was more time for learning through experimentation since students were equipped with the basic concepts beforehand.

Norman’s advice for future flippers is to flip a subject or topic they are familiar with, so that they limit the number of mistakes in their videos/recordings that would require corrections. He says to just jump in and do it. “You don’t need to flip everything, just one course, or maybe even just a unit. Keep the lessons short and sweet and to the point, and the fun stuff can still be done in class.”

We have flipped for Norman’s practical and effective way of engaging and inspiring his future scientists!

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