#uasrobotics Week 5 Teaching and Learning

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.29.02 AMWhat is the relationship between teaching and learning?

My philosophy is that teaching and learning go together. This week’s essential question made me think of the pyramid of learning. The bottom of the pyramid, the largest part, is teach others. Most of us learn best when we teach others. As educators we are continuously learning and most of educators try to instill in their students the idea of being a life long learner. Chapter five of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Martinez & Stager 2013) I enjoyed reading about the concept of teaching that uses iterative design cycles and promotes creativity. I wish the chapter had more examples of what the design cycle might look like in a classroom. “Long before there were schools as we know them, there was apprenticeship — learning how to do something by trying it under the guidance of one who knows how(The Objective of Education, 2008). Learning by doing, which is the second largest piece of the pyramid of learning, allows student to see value in what they are learning. In the online article Top 5 Life Skills School Don’t Teach, Cutler (2014) states,We fail at encouraging students to fail, by harshly penalizing failure. Incorporating project based learning and makerspaces into classrooms helps encourage creativity while also modeling that failure may happen and how to problem solve


Something I struggled to agree with in chapter five was don’t overteach planning. According to Martinez & Stager (2013), “For example, a mindmap or a storyboard is a great tool, but only when a student needs a way to organize
their thoughts. Imposing your planning framework, even with the best of intentions, deprives the child of the experience of solving their own problems and makes them dependent on you.” As an elementary teacher I feel it is my job to teach structure and organization, especially in writing. I think it would be difficult for most third grade students to write a 3-5 paragraph paper without learning about how to structure writing and/or use graphic organizers.


Cutler, D. (2014, January 7). Top 5 life skills school don’t teach. Retrieved June 16, 2015 from http://www.spinedu.com/top-5-life-skills-schools-teach/#.VYFJG6bwyI0

Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

National Training Laboratories Bethel, Maine. (n.d.). Learning pyramid.

The Objective of Education Is Learning, Not Teaching. (2008, August 20). Retrieved June 16, 2015 from http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/the-objective-of-education-is-learning-not-teaching/


7 thoughts on “#uasrobotics Week 5 Teaching and Learning

  1. Ali- That is a great pyramid. I downloaded so I can have copy. I think that is a great poster to look at at you are teaching. Sometime some of us might get carried away with lectures. If we look at the retention rate we can remember that this is not best for the students. Yes! when we teach others it also reenforces what we learned. I had the same thought with planning. I think structure and organization is important especially if you are trying to teach them something like the writing process. I agree with you on this. Thanks of the visual!


  2. Your comment about teaching kids how to organize their thoughts caught my attention. This is something I struggle with at the high school level, especially with my higher level math kids. I require them to keep an organized notebook. Most of them have developed a method that works well. Some, however, are hopelessly disorganized and it causes difficulties, especially with math. It would make my life much easier if I required them all to use the same method of organization but I realize that would be a disservice to my students. They don’t all think the same way I do. I have to allow my kids to develop a system that works for them. I can only offer suggestions with the hope they take my advice.


  3. I too love your learning pyramid graphic! It’s a good reminder not to get stuck in lecturing.

    As far as teaching planning, I have mixed feelings. I had a similar thought to you, when I read that suggestion. I thought, “Students need to be taught theses things so that they know how to use organization tools when needed.” At the same time, I see the authors’ point that delaying the actual Making decreases engagement. I also remember as a student, being frustrated that I was required to write outlines for papers. I never wrote that way myself, and I was one of those students who went back and did the outline after I had finished writing the paper.

    A lot of the suggestions for how iterative design cycles should work remind me of something called the 5E model for teaching science lessons. I learned about this model in a science methods course as part of my teaching degree. The 5 E’s are: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. First you engage students with a powerful question, then allow students hands-on exploration to try to find an answer. Next you work together with the students to create a coherent picture of what they’ve discovered, while filling in gaps with relevant information. Then, you let kids go further, either continuing their previous exploration activity, or challenging them to something new but related. The last component is evaluation or assessment.

    As I think about your point that students need to be taught certain organizational skills, I wonder if that could be fit into a similar model. In the case of writing, perhaps by having students try to write a story first (or even write something together as a class) they will see that organizing their thoughts and information on paper can be difficult. In fact, you might be able to craft a writing prompt with that aim in mind. After students grapple with the exploration phase, you could then introduce a way for students to organize their writing during the explain phase. The elaborate phase could be spent with students testing out the new organizational skill, or developing a different system that works better for them. I’m not saying it would be easy to teach every skill in this format, but it’s something to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the 5E idea. And I get what you are saying to let them write their piece and then show them how to organize their writing, if they need it. But it makes me think of conferencing with students who struggle with writing and trying to make sense of what their stories.


  4. I never put two and two together regarding apprenticeships. Good point. People have been learning through experiencing long before schools, even the animal kingdom illustrates how important learning by doing is. The learning pyramid you included is such a good reminder to keep lecturing to a minimum.


  5. I agree with you about using organizers in writing. Students need a way to organize their thoughts. The majority of my students come to me in 4th or 5th grade already using organizers. At the beginning of the year I use organizers as I model and we write together. After that I always have graphic organizers available if students want to use them. Some students write best when they have something to organize their thoughts and ideas and some write best when they just start writing.


    1. I think that organizers can be a great tool if students need them, the key is to get students to understand when they need them. I never used to use anything for writing because I thought I was fine without one. It wasn’t until I started college that I realized that I really did need to use one and I started using them. Do you ever have students who you know need to use one, but refuse?


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