This summer I was hired to work with the Upward Bound program here on the U of R campus to teach either their chemistry or their engineering course. Upward Bound, for everyone who doesn’t know, is a program for high school students in RCSD to come and take classes at the U of R over the summer, and to work on college preparation. The courses they take during the summer are project-based as well, and I get to create my own course, which should be an awesome experience.
My friend Ben from the math program at Warner, is going to be teaching math with them over the summer too. Being the good Warner students that we are, we’ve been talking about how we could make our courses really interdisciplinary and have what we’re learning in science relate to what’s going on in math and vice versa. We’re both really excited about it and have already started coming up with some ideas for the summer and how we could have them focus on science and math. But the more we brainstormed ideas though, I began asking myself questions like, “Well, what should we have them focus on?”, “What kind of skills do we want them to develop?”, “What goals do we want them to accomplish?”.
BAM right there, the lightbulb for backward design finally turned on.
Now up until this point, I’ve been able to describe and talk about what backward design is, and whatnot, but this was the moment, where I actually clearly saw why we did everything we did for the innovative unit. I only wish I could have been able to see this before I started my innovative unit, but better late than never.
I love these “lightbulb” moments (who doesn’t?), and they can be very gratifying when they do happen. I know we’ve all had a lot of them this year. So now it’s your turn, to share a moment or two where the light went on this past year during your teaching.