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Presentation Reflection

So I finally did my presentation on the Carbon Cycle and I can honestly say I was nervous to present. I already watched Luke and Emily present theirs and both were really helpful.  As an audience member, I was able to give feedback on their presentations and take away some helpful tips on how to improve my presentation. Luke’s presentation was really good because of all of his animations and he seemed at ease with what he was talking about. Emily brought new ideas on the why should we care section and that was definitely her strong point. I especially thought her ending was interesting and left me with something to think about.

I have to say that I was tweaking my PowerPoint up until the moment I had to present because I wanted to make sure I did a good job. As soon as I started my introduction, I found that I was a little less nervous and felt confident in what I was doing. The strengths of my presentation would have to be my PowerPoint being consistent, bright and colorful, and I was able to explain the heart of the concept which was Photosynthesis and Respiration. The weaknesses of my presentation would be that I didn’t take my time walking through the equations for Photosynthesis and Respiration and not get the results I expected from the vinegar and baking soda experiment. I could improve on my presentation by taking my time to explain the diagrams a little more and slowing down when I speak and not let the nervousness take over if something goes wrong.  I believe that right now I still would practice my presentation a few more times before I speak to the highschool studens. I believe that they will be interested in what I’m presenting to them because the slides are not full of words and they are also doing activities from the time I start my introduction to right at the end when I give them a simple worksheet they can take home.

Thanks to the class we had about how to make a PowerPoint, I was able to make my presentation interesting. I never had to put animation in a PowerPoint before so it was cool to be able to make one that wasn’t bland. The only part that threw me off was the wrong numbers I got after weighing the containers of vinegar. It really threw me off but I hope I didn’t look too flustered when that occurred. I have to come up with a better explanation if this occurs again.

I found an interesting article called “Teachers As Artists: A Reading Of John Dewey’s Art As Experience” by Ailing Kong.  This article stood out to me because it described teaching as an art. I am left-handed and being that left-handed people are often described as being artistic, this article stood out to me. Kong used John Dewey’s book “ Art as Experience” to describe her journey as a novice teacher. The section titled “Teaching as art” was interesting in that it takes great courage to be able to teach and inspire your students. Being able to make the Carbon Cycle our own presentation, we are able to put our own unique spin on it. Each of us have interesting ways to teach the highschool students about carbon and why we care so much. Hopefully they walk away with a better understanding of it and are able to make some changes in their lives to better our environment.



John Dewey


Blog Reflection: Misconceptions in Science

Last Friday we heard a presentation from Dr. Edmondson about Misconceptions in Science. I actually enjoyed her presentation because I never realized how many misconceptions there are in science. There was an exercise that was done at the beginning which tested our knowledge on basic science questions. My partner, Emily and I only got 1 question wrong! The point of the exercise was to recognize that we must be careful in the way we state facts. Since us undergraduate students will be teaching the Carbon Cycle to highschool students, it is imperative that we properly communicate the information with them. The video about the Harvard University graduates who could not answer a simple question about how an acorn becomes a log was very interesting. Harvard is an institution that has mainly the best and the brightest students. To see that these intellectuals were unable to answer the question was very shocking and puzzling. The video also had professors from various universities who all agreed that our misconception about scientific facts starts as early as elementary school. If we are not able to grasp the information at an early age, then it will be difficult to understand the proper information as we get older.

I was not too surprised about the misconceptions because I realized that I had some before I started Carbon Capstone. I have found that I am getting better at using the proper phrases on explaining the Carbon Cycle. Now I know that in order to have a great presentation I need to engage the class in conversation. Dr. Edmondson gave out a checklist which I deemed to be very helpful. The checklist is called Goals for Productive Discussions and Nine Talk Moves. This is very helpful for me to be able to get the students thinking and challenge them to form their own ideas about the concepts. Another helpful tip was to ask students at the beginning of my presentation about their ideas on the Carbon Cycle so that I could gauge their level of understanding. One question I had was what should I do in case a student asked me a question that I did not know the answer to. Dr. Edmondson gave a great tip which I would definitely use. Her tip was to put the question back on to the students and not to admit that I do not know the answer. This was a very clever idea. One part of the presentation of the that would help the highschool students would be the using the chemical kits on the mesocosms at the Rice Center.

There is an interesting article about misconceptions of biology concepts called “Determination of student misconceptions in “photosynthesis and respiration” unit and correcting them with the help of cai material” by by Esra Keles and Pinar Kefeli (2010). Keles and Kefeli state that using computer assisted instruction would decrease misconceptions on photosynthesis and respiration. It was very similar to Dr. Edmondson’s presentation. However, the only difference was using computer animations and on-screen tutors to capture the students’ attention. This could be a helpful solution, however, it could cause teachers to fully rely on the computer and not their own knowledge about the topic.

Here’s the link to this article

Photosynthesis cartoon

Photosynthesis cartoon 2