Here now in Neurobiology; great lab space with lots of room for both seats in front and plenty of working lab space.   Class begins with students working on questions posted on the board: “What do areas IT & MT mediate? How does consciousness work?”  Students are immediately engaged, focused but not silent, with thinking and writing about these questions.  Love how it sets the tone right from the top of each class: students are here to do their own thinking and learning, not to be talked to.    Our teacher is very energetically circulating, checking on comprehension.
Fascinating syllabus: this is a great example of what Stan described as the college-level work he believes he is already doing.   I love that high school students have the opportunities to select this kind of topical, contemporary and current, academic field in their secondary years.   The curriculum, as published in Rubicon, is built around a lengthy series of good questions: some of the most essential of these questions to my reading are: “What is the relationship of mind and body as explored through mental illness?” “Why do we need to sleep?” “How are male and female brains different and how does that influence behavior?”  ”What is the biology of homosexuality?”   Wiggins says that essential questions are those that are interesting and significant enough that’d we want to, that educated adults already, discuss at a dinner party or “on our own time;” these questions are beautiful examples of that.
Excellent example of relevant and personal instruction: when our teacher momentarily misremembers a student’s name, she grabs it right away as a teachable moment, explaining to us what is going on in the synapses of her brain in that moment of mistaken memory.   Now she is drawing diagrams and designs on the board to illustrate, and there are many such drawings on the board, which is exemplary instruction via non-linguistic representation.

Above the board are another series of guiding questions for scientific inquiry:  ”The circle of life: how is it connected to everything else?  How do we find out the truth of things we cannot see? How do we see through bias?  What are the checks and balances in the system?  What does it look like; how does it work? ”  Great to have these inquiry questions so prominently displayed for constant reference for how students should be thinking as they go about their learning here in the lab.

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