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25 The brain responds to novelty. In these lessons, graphic novels are used to motivate students to actively read I, Robot and then create a sequential art summary of one of the short stories in the collection. The high interest activity requires critical thinking skills and integrates ELA with technology and the arts.
26 Debate is another example of the use of novelty to capture the brain’s attention and motivate students. The integration of ELA with robotics enhances the growth of neural networks in the brain and deepens the understanding of content.
http://education.jhu.edu/newhorizons/Journals/spring2010/willis-2/index.html
http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2008/07/03/10-brain-training-tips-to-teach-and-learn/
27 Staging a debate on a high interest content related topic (in this case robotics) has the following brain compatible features:
  • Novelty
    Students are attentive and motivated.
  • Curriculum integration
    Learning makes sense when students see how skills in one area are needed in another area. When they can make connections among curricula areas, they also gain a broader, deeper understanding of the content.
  • Small Group Learning Environment
    This type of learning environment is less threatening and allows students to increase neural connections by considering the ideas of others and linking them to what they already know. Research suggests that students learn better when allowed to interact in small, social settings. Working in small groups also reduces the risk of failure. When experiences are positive, students are encouraged , motivation is high, and students continue learning.
28 The debate planning sheet helps students review debate roles and procedures and assists them in organizing their thinking before the actual debate. It also serves as an assessment tool for teachers to monitor understanding and progress and provide feedback. The ongoing feedback reduces the chance of failure and increases the likelihood of a successful learning experience.
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  • Kathleen Letsky, Curriculum Specialist
  • Nathan Patia, STEM Specialist
  • Salvador Cabusi, Technology Specialist
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The Krause Family Foundation: ‘Alana Ke Aloha

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