To get our year started, I'm going to be doing the same activity with all the PA groups during our first four days as a way of introducing my expectations for the kind of work that we will be doing during PA, specifically lots of collaboration, critical thinking, and explaining our thinking. Groups of students will be told they are stranded on the surface of the moon and given a list of 15 items. Teams will need to put the items into three groups, essential, helpful, and useless and then rank the items in order of importance with an explanation of why the rank was given. Each team member must agree on the rank and category as a result of their thoughtful conversations about the items and possible uses for them.
So much of our work in PA relies on students listening to each other, providing evidence of critical thinking, and clearly explaining the rational behind their thoughts. That's the goal of this first week of work. I am looking forward to our first four days!