Friday, October 18, 2013

Emails From the Front - Open House Ideas

Because I teach a modeling workshop class over the summer (with my amazing teaching partner Laura Ritter from Troy Schools in Michigan) I get a lot of email from participants that encounter both everyday problems and unique problems in their classrooms and at their schools.  Normally I respond and the responses end their existence in my "sent items" folder.  But I've decided to put some of the questions and responses here so that they live on in infamy.

Jim DeHaan from De La Salle Collegiate high school inquired about open house ideas.

My response is as follows:
How long is the open house?
Depending on the time you can do any number of things.

We have an open house of sorts where the parents do the students’ schedules.  They move through a typical school day  but spend only 12 minutes in each classroom.  For this I do a discrepant event demonstration show.  I set up between 6 and 10 discrepant event demonstrations and have the parents predict the outcomes before I do the demo for them.  It’s fun and light and I get to show the high energy nature of my classroom.  It doesn’t, however, give me time to explain the things about my classroom like the modeling method or the SBG.

If it is long like 35 or 40 minutes I suggest a structured activity like the buggy lab or a pendulum lab with white boarding.   Both are fun and easy to do with decently easy to interpret results.

If it is truly an “open house” where people can walk in and out I would suggest have a couple of hand-on demos that they can do set out.  Like the ball under the table, two different mass pendulums, a popper car on a track, happy and sad balls etc.  In addition I would have student work around the room like white boards for sure and if you do anything else like writing samples or pictures or projects with kids names on them.

What do you think about that?

The original email is below.
I am looking for ideas for open house.  Got anything that you are willing to share?

Also, I made some new stacks of graphs worksheets (the other ones were low quality).  They are attached.

1 comment:

Bryan Battaglia said...

I loved using my mystery tubes at my open house. Perfect analogy for science and how we investigate it in my class. Explain to the parents that we can never open the tube. We can only hope we come up with a model that works the same way. Then that model is the truth until we prove it otherwise.