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Over my career, one of the most challenging teaching goals has been, “how do I promote my 6th grade science students to become resources for the learning of others in the classroom?”

Pear Deck has been a big help in fostering a spirit of inclusion in my classroom! One of the things I’ve done to help promote kids talking to each other and feeling safe enough to share the deeper whys and hows of their thought processes has been using Pear Deck’s Dashboard during weekly sessions.
By scrolling through how kids are answering questions, I can make a sort of game out of certain questions and question types that may be particularly important to understanding a week’s main concept and may be difficult for them to wrestle. If everyone gets a multiple choice question, a number answer, or a draggable correct, then we all get to say “yay” in unison. They’re instructed through the year not to give out answers, but to “lead the ones they’re helping” to the correct answer without revealing the actual answer. I say “I know you are all good people and want to help your classmates, but if you reveal the answer you’re harming your friend’s education. You can show them where to find the answer, or how to think about it without giving it away completely. If you help them and let them find their own answer, they get to learn!”

One of our Physical Science standards includes understanding the force equation (F=MA), so we had Peardeck questions for the demo – dropping different masses into clay and measuring drops of water. The kids had to answer several math questions. Nothing like a little math to activate a few, and turn off the rest. When it came to the ratio questions where they compared masses to crater sizes, several had not entered answers, or multiplied the wrong numbers, so I pointed out who needed extra help and volunteers gladly helped them! We had Cheers of excitement when I showed everyone’s answers and they were all correct! The kids are now excited to do these formula questions and even our most at-risk are learning something from these challenging science concepts!

Dave Crowder
Louisville Middle School
Boulder Valley School District Colorado