I debated for a long time as to whether or not I wanted to tackle modeling with these kids. Every indication I had up to this point simply screamed to me that the kids didn't like it.
But, being who I am, I ignored all that.
Actually, I looked long and hard at the arguments presented by those kids. What it boiled down to was that these kids were out of their comfort zone. They knew how to work the system and were upset that the system had changed. Having taught (almost exclusively) IEP and At-Risk kids for many years now, I am fairly confident that most of those kids don't really have a comfort zone when it comes to school. They were going to resist me no matter what I did.
So, modeling it was.
We are following the exact same curriculum that my regular chemistry class used in the fall trimester. The only modifications I have made have been to the math sections. A lot of my Applied kids haven't taken Algebra yet, so it didn't really seem fair to ask them to make those connections. We are focusing on the study of the particles and their behavior.
I did show them how to find the slope of our graphs (some even had a faint idea of where this was going!) and talked about what that slope meant. Several of them made connections to mountain slopes that my chemistry kids never even considered. That IS why it is called a slope, after all. I did not ask them to write the equations or try to come up with the constants on their own.
I do feel like I am walking them through a lot more than I did my chemistry kids. Whether I am doing this because of the makeup of the class or because of my experiences in the fall, I really can't say. Probably a little of both.
The big problem I have (and this is not new) is kids just not doing work. I had three lab notebooks turned in blank. BLANK. Nothing. Seriously, why even bother turning it in?
But that annoyance aside, the big thing here is that these kids are doing great. They are actively involved in the labs and the data interpretation. They discuss the results with their small group and participate in the large group discussion so much better than their "smarter" peers.
Overall, the experience has been so much better than last fall. I've even got kids wanting to read out of the text book.*
Direct quote: "Miss, I had no idea I was this smart!"
I'm so glad I took this chance.
*Most of these kids are in our Tier 2 or Tier 3 reading intervention classes, which means they are way below grade level. We have readings in the textbook as a reinforcement AFTER we do the lab and discussions.