I am trying something a little different in my classroom this week. Just a little background to set the stage – students scored poorly on a group assignment and the problem seemed to be group members did not pull their weight resulting in low scores for everyone in the group. I struggled with how to make this a learning opportunity, and at the same time honor those that had worked hard though their scores did not reflect it. I am not a fan of extra credit, nor did I want students to redo the project. So, I came up with an “Optional Assignment.”
Being optional, students do not have to do this assignment. I am hopeful most students will attempt it and will do well, because in some ways I have given them choice. They may choose to do this or choose not to do this work. Sometimes, the power of choice has amazing results. We shall see. Luckily, our grading system at school allows flexibility so I can enter an assignment and award points to some without decreasing the overall percentage for those that do not do the assignment.
The assignment is not revolutionary in its content. Students will be researching methane and then thinking about ways to capture and use methane for good. I attempted to make the assignment inclusive of research, problem identification, and problem solving, with a chance for creativity. Methane is my favorite molecule to teach about and I hope to get students excited about it as well 🙂 (I am a nerd and proud of it!).
I would love to hear your thoughts!