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NoelleNavarra

TE804
InquiryProject

Withthisinquiryproject,Iwaslookingforwardtoseehowstudentstrulyreacttogroupwork.
Ithasbeeninterestingtoseehowgroupsworkthroughouttheyear,sothiswasatimewhereIcould
givemyfullattentiononhowthestudentsworkinthem.Mymentorteacherneverencouragedgroup
workasidefromtheteambuildingactivitiesduringthefirstweekofschool.Thiswassurprisingbecause
Iknewgroupworkwouldbeamajorpartofmyunits.Sincegroupworkwasnotencouraged,ithada
negativeimpactonthestudentswhenitcametimetoleadgroupactivitiesinthefall.
Furthermore,mystudentswouldnegativelyreacttotheirgroupassignmentsiftheirfriendswere
notinthem.Theydidnotlearntobecooperativewiththeotherstudents.Therewasmajorfrustration
withinthemwhenItrieditthefirsttime.Becauseofthis,Ihadtohaveatalkwiththempriortothenext
activity.Tomysurprise,thisworkedwell.However,thisdidnotlastverylong.Mystudentsarea
challengeinthisrespect,butIcontinuedtoworkthroughtheseissuesastimewenton.
Withthatbeingsaid,theinquiryprojectbeganwiththeveryfirstlessonofmyscienceunit.The
planwastofigureoutwhichtypeofgroupwouldworkbestforstudents.Asanextraenhancement,I
wantedtofindoutwhichtypemighthelpmystudentsfeelmorepositiveaboutgroupworkwithinsocial
aspects.Ibeganwithamixtureofacademiclevels.AsIwalkedaround,Inoticedthelowerlevel
studentswerejustlisteningtoobservations,andcopyingthemdownontheirworksheets.Unfortunately,
thehigherlevelstudentsaswellasstudentsinbetweenwerejumpingtotheirownconclusionswithout
discussingthem.Insomegroups,Isawstudentswritingdowntheirownthoughtswithouttalkingtoeach
other.Relatedtothis,somestudentsexpressedintheirsurveysthattheywouldprefertoworkwith
friends,andthattheirgroupmembersarelazy.Thiswasthefirstgroupactivitywithinthisunit,soIwas
lookingforwardtoseewhatwouldoccurthefollowingday.
Therefore,Icontinuedwiththistypeofgroupduringthenextactivity.Iswitchedupthegroups
toseeiftherewereanychanges.Studentsshowedlittleenthusiasmagain,butthereweredifferencesthis
time.Thiswasalessonthathadthestudentsmovingaroundtheroomwithgroupstomeasuremassand
weightofdifferentobjects.Whenstudentsbegantowork,Inoticedlittletonoissues.Itseemstome
thatwhenstudentsmovearoundwithgroups,theyseemtoforgetwhotheyareworkingwithastheyare
excitedtoactuallyperformintheactivity.Withthatbeingsaid,theyseemtohavemoreissueswhen
sittinginagroupofdesksworkingontheexperiments.Thiswasdefinitelyinterestingtorealize.Ifthere
wasanyissueatall,thereweredebatesonwhetherornottheyweremeasuringtheweightaccurately
withthespringscale.However,therewerehealthydebatesaboutwhatmeasurementtowritedown.It
wasgreattoseedifferentlevelsofstudentsinteractingtofigureouttheanswers.Withthiscase,Isee
positivesandnegativeswithmixingacademiclevels.
Incontinuationwiththeproject,Iwouldtryputtingtogethergroupswithrelativelysimilar
academiclevels.Thisseemedtoworkwellfromthestart.Thehigherlevellearningstudentsthatusually
complainwerecontentwiththegroupassignmentsbecausetheyknewtherewouldberelevant
discussionrelatedtothetopic.Someofthemgetupsetwhenplacedwithcertainstudentsbecausethey
knowtheywillnotdothework.Thisisdisappointingbecausethesestudentsshouldhelpguidethese
studentstowardsunderstanding.Actually,onestudentdidadmitonthesurveythatherpartnershelpher
understand.Withthisparticularcase,itwouldbebeneficialtopairherupwithpartnerswith
understandingbecausesheenjoysthehelp.Iseelittlemotivationfromthisstudent,soifherpeersare
abletohelpher,thenthatshouldimpactherinapositiveway.Ifclassmatescanhelptheirpeerswithout
realizingit,itwouldbeoftheutmostimportancetogroupthemupinthismanner.However,there
shouldbechangesattimestokeepitfair.
Inadditiontothis,studentsseemedtoworkwelltogether.Thelowergroupsweresucceeding,
whichwasgreattosee.Therearecertainstudentsthatseemtowanderofftofindanswersfromother
peoplebecausetheydonotfeelconfidenttocomeupwithitthemselves,buttheywereparticipatingjust
asmuch.Tocreateharmonywithintheclassroomaswellasequalparticipation,itseemstobethat
studentswithsimilaracademiclevelshavegreatprogressintheirwork.
Withrespecttogender,thiswastheleastsurprising.Iknewthatthegirlswouldcooperatewith
othergirlsaswellasboyswithotherboys.Therewaslessconflict.However,therewerestudentsthat
stillletothersdoalotofthework.Therewasaninstancewhenahigherlevelstudentwasfrustratedthat
hecouldnotbewithhisfriends,butoncealittlebitoftimewentby,theywerecooperating.Ifeelthat
studentsarequicktojumpattheideaofnotworkingwellwithothers,butoncetheygetintoit,those
issuesarediminished.
Tofinishoffthetrials,Idecidedtothrowingrouprolesintothemix.Studentswereveryexcited
tohavedifferentroles.Thechartwasprojectedontotheboardforthestudentstosee.Also,I
thoroughlyexplainedwhatthedutieswereforeachroleinorderforthestudentstofullyunderstand
them.Oncethestudentswereworkingontheirtasks,thedebatesstartedtorise.Studentswere
disagreeingonwhodidwhateventhoughitwasclear.Inoticedthatstudentsweretakingoverother
rolesbecausetheyneededthatcontrol.Theytriedtosaythattheywerenotdoinganything,butthe
studentswereupsetwhentheycouldnottaketheirroleback.Studentsshouldrealizetheyaregiven
certainroles,andthattheyareonlytostickwiththeonegiven.Aftercompletingthis,Irealizedthatjobs
woulddefinitelyworkbetterifgroupsstaythesameoveraperiodoftimeinordertorotatethedifferent
roles.Studentsshouldalsolearnthattheytaketurnstocooperatewithothers.Eventhoughtheyhave
specifictasks,theyshouldstillfullyparticipateinthetaskbecauseitrequireshelpfromallstudents
withinthegroup.Eightythreepercentofthestudentsenjoyedjobs,soitshowsthatitcanworkinthe
future.Mystudentsliketobeincontrol,sothisworkswelliftheysticktotheironejob.
Basedoncomments,itseemsthatstudentswouldratherpicktheirowngroups.Thisis
understandablebecausetheywanttobewiththeirfriendsateverychancepossible.Otherstudentslike
toworkwiththeirclassmates,butwouldratherworkwithonlyoneotherperson.Thiswouldbe
beneficialaswellbecauseitwouldgiveeachstudentabetterchanceatparticipatingmore,butthereare
notenoughmaterialstodosoinmostsituations.Somestudentsalsosaidthatgroupsarehelpful.All
studentshavethechancetodowell,buttherearesomethatneedthatextrasupport.Theyneedthat
boostofconfidencewithsupportaroundthem,whichwillhelpthemtogainknowledgetofigurethings
outontheirownaswell.Therearemanywaystogoaboutgroupwork,andthestudentshavedifferent
perspectivestobaseitoffof.
Ibelievethatoneofthestrengthswasthinkingthroughgroupscarefully,whichwasanaspect
statedbyWeinstein.AsIhavethroughouttheyear,groupsarethoughtoutandchangedmanytimes
beforesatisfaction.Manyaspectsarethoughtofwhenmakinggroups.Themainideabehindthegroup
isthoughtaboutaswellascooperation.Notallgroupswillwork,soitseemsthatIhavechanged
groupstogoforthatperfectgroup.Nogroupisperfect,butitisreasonabletowantgroupsthatworkin
orderforthestudentstogetthebestoutoftheactivities.Relatedtothis,Ibelieveaweaknessinvolves
time.Forthisparticularunit,itwouldhavebeenbeneficialtohavetwentyactivitiesifthatwaspossible.
Eachtypeofgroupcouldhavebeentogetherfor45activitiestogetsoliddata.Itcouldeventakemore
trialsastypicalscientiststrysomethingatleasttwentytimes,butIcouldonlyworkwithsomany
activities.Therefore,longerresearchcouldbemorebeneficial.
Furthermore,itseemsthatIgottheseresultsbasedonthestudentsnothavingthatinitial
classroomcommunitybuiltaroundteamwork.MEAPpreparationslowedthisdowniftherewasevena
possibilityoftryingit.IlookforwardtomyfutureclassroombecauseIwantmystudentstogetusedto
workingingroups,whichinvolveslearningtoworkwitheverysingleclassmate.Noteveryonewillget
alongingeneral,buttheycanlearntofocusontheiracademicstogetthejobdone.Iunderstandthat
groupworkcanberoughifteammatesarenothelpingeachother,soteachersneedtofocusonthis
earlyon.Inadditiontothis,itwasinterestingtoseethestudentcommentsaswellasverbalideas.It
wouldhavebeenbettertodothissurveyatthebeginningaswelltoseetheirinitialideas,whichcould
havebeenworkedintothegroupchoicesifpossible.Groupworkisamajorissue,anditgavemegreat
insightonhowthesestudentsinteractwiththeirclassmates.