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Brandy P

LA Urban Teacher Residency


Adapt this Idea: Simulate a trip to Mars!

After ten days doing mock experiments in a simulated Martian environment, astronauts climbed into their “spacecraft” and then sat there for 240 days for their trip home. The spacecraft did not literally move, but time most certainly did! While inevitably a taxing experience, the simulation sought to prepare the astronauts for the real thing—a journey to and a landing on Mars. The Red Planet is a staggering 140,000,000 miles from mother earth. As if not grueling enough, the simulation included fake technical problems and emergencies. This is all in the hope that we might someday visit the planet Ray Bradbury envisioned (at least fictionally) we could one day colonize. More proof of the potential for simulations? Simulator training alone qualifies a pilot to fly a new airplane for the first time on a revenue flight.

Potential Impact

How could simulators be valuable to educators? Are there experiences that would be particularly appropriate for simulations? Which parts of teaching and learning fit especially well into the simulation format? The possibilities for professional learning and growth are endless!

Discussion (2)

5 Years Ago

Mindi K-R

Shelby County East Middle School

Brandy - I am hearing more and more frequently that school is not like most of the other areas of our lives. I just heard it again today at a Boy Scout Leadership Training, and to a certain degree, it is so true. There are not very many jobs where you only get one chance and that's it. No chance to improve or no chance to fix anything. Personally, I would find that rather difficult to swallow if I had only one chance to teach a concept and if I blew it, well, too bad. Instead what you offer is a way for us to bring reality to our classroom. I don't know of a specific simulation but I am certain that a bunch of brains could. That would be a lot like project based learning. My district is just now moving in that direction and we are taking it slowly. We can teach all of the concepts that we need to teach using real world problems. The only problem is that we have to figure out how it looks because real-world problems don't just present themselves as a math problem or language problem outright. Instead, they are embedded - for example when do we really need ratios - what about painters or gardeners how do their real world problems use ratios. Language - when do we really need to know tense? Have you read an email that isn't written grammatically correct -how hard is it to get the message when you don't understand it? Those would be just a few real-world problems that could definitely be enhanced by a simulation of some kind. Your idea moved me to think differently. Thanks!

5 Years Ago

Profile rachel and lily 400x400

This is truly innovative! I hadn't thought about using simulation but it is a great idea! I coach teachers, primarily first and second year teachers. One of the strategies that we use frequently in our debrief sessions and our trainings is role play. While often teachers are hesitant to do role play because it can feel uncomfortable or generic, once they get into it they almost always find it incredibly helpful and it's one of the fastest and most effective ways to move teacher practice. I wonder what could happen if videos were created to simulate common classroom issues and teachers could use them to practice and build the automaticity that it takes to make those split second decisions. I also think this idea could go well with Fred's idea of "Choose Your Own Adventure" of PD. In a way, depending on how teachers choose to respond, there could be different follow up videos, or even training videos that are recommended.

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