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Sep 14

Let them eat cake!

I decided to teach my geologic laws lesson this year using a new metaphorical style. I had done a modified new metaphorical last year, but I didn’t include the evocative question, and I gave my students more guidance. This year, I let them get more creative.

"Geologic" Cake

I started with the evocative question: How are the geologic laws for determining the Earth’s history like a layer cake? Then, without telling the students the laws we would be studying, I asked the to brainstorm answers to the question. Next, we created a three flap foldable for our notes. On the first flap, we put the law of superposition, and we wrote the definition inside the foldable. I then had students think of a simile for the law of superposition. One of the great ones I heard is the law of superposition is like our school. The oldest students are on the bottom floor and the younger students are on the top floor. Great thinking; I love when the come up with something I had not thought of myself!

We continued to the process for the laws of original horizontality and uniformitarianism. One of the best similes for the original horizontality is it is like a pyramid: it’s in horizontal layers and the largest layers are at the bottom. Again, not something I had thought of before, yet every single class period had someone who made the connection. I loved it!

Finally, we went  back to our evocative question and looked specifically at how a layer cake is like the laws of superposition, original horizontality, and uniformitarianism. They really made the connections that I was hoping they would see. And to solidify it even more, we ended the class by eating a small sliver of layer cake.

I loved  the kids’ reactions to the cake. They were excited, loved the lesson, and they were very appreciative of the cake. Several students said they could not wait to go home and tell their parents about today’s lesson! I was so excited when I heard that. Today’s lesson made an impact, and it was fun.

What creative ways do you teach difficult concepts? Please share!

1 comment

  1. Paul Brown. @mrbv

    Wow! Don’t you get the biggest kick out of students making connections and are excited about learning in such a creative way?! I wish every teacher I ever had cared enough to take the time and effort to put such a lesson together like you do. Your students are fortunate to have you as a teacher.

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