My experience with Backwards Design during this time working on my demo science unit was interesting. It was definitely beneficial and pushed me to see lesson planning with a whole new eye. It, however, is not the way I normally lesson plan so it was a bit frustrating as I struggled to keep an even triangulation between the final assessment, scope and sequence of my lessons and the learning objective. The task itself was frustrating, as I felt I got more distracted and added more than I originally wanted to, but seeing the end product was really satisfying. It feels like more work but it is work done right, and it empowered me as a teacher, it allowed me to keep a better check on my timelines and end the end to get rid of lessons that were not meeting expectations in terms of time or how they fit with the learning objective. I think as a teacher it is important to keep in mind that our job is to do the best job possible when delivering lessons, when teaching concepts in general. I do believe that it is of value and will probably use it again in the future. It will require more discipline of me and it will require time.
In terms of constructivist engagement, I do believe that the activities in the demo meet the criteria of engagement with the content, with peers, and with the environment. Because this is a blended environment, all three aspects of engagement are important in order to have a well balanced program. Students interact with the content through the activities and resources provided. The range of activities provide support to ALL learning populations and academic abilities. Students interact with each other through the several group lessons within the unit as well as the Key Summative Assessment in which they all work together all week, pulling from their knowledge of cells they acquired the weeks prior. Lastly, they interact with the environment through the program, through the positive learning environment I foster and the discussion boards and feedback which will be specific and always with the students’ best interest in mind.