Not Just for Math Teachers
Illuminations reaches a wide audience of math teachers, spanning from prekindergarten to high school and from teachers in the United States to those abroad, but now it's being used in science classrooms, too. Terry Johanson, learning support facilitator for Prairie Spirit School Division, and Kirsten Dyck, physics teacher at Saskatchewan High School, worked together to team plan and teach an Illuminations lesson.
The Illuminations lesson, Varying Motion, created by Johnanson when she participated in the 2008 Illuminations Summer Institute, allowed Dyck's students to explore simple and complex ideas with a hands-on approach.
"I found that my students 'got it'," said Dyck. "They came away from the lesson with a deep understanding of the relationships among displacement, velocity and acceleration throughout this hands-on inquiry."
Students were happy to have an out-of-the-desk activity that they could apply mathematical ideas to, and they liked the fact that the knowledge built on itself, progressing logically from simple to complex ideas.
Varying Motion also provided not just one day of instruction, but it progressed to more than seven hours of class experiences and was the springboard for approximately 90% of Dyck's unit content.
"I will definitely continue to see what other Illuminations lessons fit my physics curriculum," Dyck said. "The detailed lessons give me enough information so I can tailor it to fit my classroom needs."
As for Johanson, she will continue to encourage teachers to use Illuminations. She feels the lessons fit with the emphasis that specific school divisions, schools, and teachers have chosen.
Originally Appeared in Bright Ideas 11/12/09