Connecting Exploration To The Content
After you have identified the activity you will use to make that content tangible, you will want to ensure you have connected it back to your actual content objectives.
I encourage you to include assignments in Explore activities – like analysis sheets or reflection questions – that encourage them to begin the Explain phase. By encouraging this thinking while students are exploring, they are better prepared to come into the whole group discussion and analysis where they will share their ideas and understandings, question others’, and work toward a class consensus.
The most important thing for a teacher to remember during Explore activities (and even in the early Explain phase) is to keep their mouth shut – at least when it comes to providing explanations. Please question, please point out observations, please direct student attention and help them stay focused, but please do NOT shift into that “sage on a stage” role where you have all the answers. Trust me, I get it – that is a hard thing to do! We WANT to share our knowledge with students, we are EXCITED about these topics… but we are doing our students’ a disservice if we can’t contain that excitement and knowledge and let them puzzle it out themselves.