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LEOTC - Learning experiences outside the classroom. Ministry of Education.

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What happened next?

After the visit: Teacher's voice

  • The teacher found that the visit focused her students and gave them the skills they needed to reach the required level for the achievement standard.
  • She found that they responded well to the authentic learning context at the centre.
  • As a first year teacher, she found herself learning from the expertise of the LEOTC educator at the centre.
  • She also enjoyed the opportunity to step back from the teaching role herself and observe the learning process in her students.

The teacher completed these questions when the four students left the Marine Studies Centre:

Describe the activity you did with your students that built on the learning after the visit.

"We will have a lesson or two on statistics and how to analyse the data that they have collected. We will also have a few lessons on how to write their introduction, conclusion, and evaluation. In total, we will spend 4–5 lessons on the unit. The rest of the report they will have to do in their own time at home."

How did this activity develop the learning that had taken place during the visit?

"Now that they have collected their data, the information about writing a report and analysing data will have much more relevance. They have to participate in order to get their report done."

Where do you see your students taking their learning from here?

"They have to take responsibility for their own learning now. They will be writing up their own report. They will need quite a lot of support with the stats. I think they are pretty well prepared to go to the next stage."

How has your students' motivation changed as a result of the visit?

"They were pretty well motivated to begin with, so I haven't noticed too much change. Some are keen to have their coffee breaks but most have worked really hard."

What role did the partnership between yourself and the LEOTC educator have in the success of your visit?

"As this is my first year teaching, I have learnt from the educator. He has been great in answering my questions and has given great guidance."

Describe how the visit has improved the learning outcomes in your class.

"They are more self-directed. The first day gets them sorted, gives them the basis to then develop their experiment. In school they would never be able to come up with the range of experiments as they have no prior knowledge. There is a huge difference in having the intense period of time to do the unit of work. There is too much set-up to do it in the classroom. Schools don't have this type of equipment or access to the niche or the facilities to keep live animals. Students feel more like real scientists. The data collected is more accurate. The whole experience is more real, the students see the connection between the niche and the experiment."

What would you do differently?

"I will definitely come again and I will do things differently in the classroom. Now that I have seen the programme I will be able to put the classroom activities into a better context."

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After the visit: Students' voice

  • The students were very positive about the learning experience; they felt inspired by the opportunity to work in the field in an authentic context.
  • Most of them got more than they expected out of the trip; they were keen to return and find out more, or engage in another similar experience.

Students answered these questions as they left the centre:

What was the most important thing you learnt on yourvisit?

Student 1: "Where crabs are found, how to not get nipped, and how to set up an experiment."

Student 2: "You have to measure everything when doing an experiment and sometimes it takes a long time. But my results show a trend and were consistent when I repeated the experiment. So I am really pleased. I hope to get a good mark."

Student 3: "Repeating experiments. Repeating leads to more data and more accurate results."

Student 4: "Developed confidence in identifying variables and keeping them controlled. I have a better understanding of what is required for a top mark."

Was the visit different from what you thought? If yes, how?

Student 1: "Yes, the facilities are really good. The first day activities were good to get to know everything. It got us thinking about what to do – it helped in designing our own experiment."

Student 2: "No, I had a good idea of what we were going to do from the itinerary we were given and the preparation for the achievement standard that we did in the classroom."

Student 3: "Yes, I thought it would be sitting in the lab but we did more hands-on activities."

Student 4: "Yes, I had no idea it was going to be like this. I had no idea that there were so many things that affected crabs. For example, I had no idea that crabs could turn over."

Was there anything you learned that surprised you?

Student 1: "I was surprised to find so many crabs carrying eggs and to find a crab that had just moulted (soft shell)."

Student 2: "I was happy that I got a good result. I knew a bit about oxygen utilisation and respiration from my biology and phys ed classes. I am into my sciences and plan to do nutrition next year."

Student 3: "How many different species of crabs there are." Student 4: "That crabs can turn themselves over."

Did you answer all the questions you intended to?

Student 1: "Yes."

Student 2: "Yes, I think so."

Student 3: "Yes."

Student 4: "Yes, for this experiment. I still have lots of questions about the first experiment that I started. I think they do have reaction to light. If I had more time and additional equipment I would like to try to do an experiment to test my first hypothesis."

Do you have any new questions?

Student 1: "Yes, what happens to the crab babies? Why are there not millions and millions of crabs when there are so many eggs? How long do they live? How long can they stay out of water?"

Student 2: "Yes, I have lots of things I want more information about. I am really interested to see how my data looks when graphed. I am curious to know if my results are as conclusive as I think."

Student 3: "No, can't think of any."

Student 4: "Now I am really interested in osmosis. I would like to continue investigating their reaction to different salinities if I had more time and equipment."

Since coming back to class, is there anything new you have done that relates to the visit or have you put anything new into old work?

Student 2: "In class I will be writing up my report, analysing my data, comparing my results with others and adding references."

How much longer would you like to keep learning about this topic?

Student 1: "Probably just right, the first day could have been a bit shorter."

Student 2: "I think the length was about right and not everyone needed to repeat their whole experiment. If it was longer everyone might get a bit tired and frustrated."

Student 3: "Not sure, maybe do it fulltime – depends on what I want to do with my life."

Student 4: "Maybe another day at NZMSC, or arrive earlier on the Sunday."

Would you like to return to the place you visited to find out more?

Student 1: "It would depend on what we were doing. If it could be scuba diving, then definitely."

Student 3: "Yes, would be good to."

Student 4: "Yes, I'd love to come back and do more experiments with half crabs."

How else could you find out more information about your topic?

Student 1: "Other scientific papers, books, Internet, ask others."

Student 2: "I will do some research on the Internet, and read some books and scientific papers."

Student 3: "Study crabs for longer (maybe a year) to get more data and wider range to look at."

Student 4: "Internet, books, scientific articles."

Was there one part of the visit that inspired you more than others? This might be an object that you saw or handled; something somebody said to you or something that you did.

Student 1: "Being on the seashore was cool. I liked the contact with the natural environment."

Student 2: "I liked the crabs. I am quite meticulous so I thought all parts were worthwhile. It helped to be told exactly what I needed to keep an eye on when setting up and doing my experiment. I am a perfectionist so wanted to do it right."

Student 3: "Working with live animals – much better than sitting at a computer or in class."

Student 4: "It was great to get over my fear of the crabs. I loved being the person that other people asked to handle the crabs."

Describe how this visit has helped your learning.

Student 1: "It is much better than being in the classroom. It is better seeing the animal in its natural environment. I liked it being an intensive course where you are just concentrating on one thing. At home you are trying to do bio with all your other subjects and sport. Here you can just work on one thing and get it right."

Student 2: "The environment was much more stimulating than school. It was great to have the crabs and all the equipment. The LEOTC educator was really helpful. I would rather do it all in one go, rather than spreading it out over a week or two in the classroom. No worry about forgetting certain things that you did in your experiment and the time limit meant that there was no option to put it off until later."

Student 3: "Outside the classroom, not doing the same thing. Not boring – not just listening – doing it yourself."

Student 4: "It has made me more ambitious. The fact that my first experiment didn't work out made me more determined to make the second experiment work."

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