Sarah taught a seventh grade unit with the essential question: “What causes the seasons?” Students spent several days manipulating globes and other models to understand why we experience changes in temperature and day length throughout the year.
Periodically, Sarah asked students to do a quick-write in their notebooks describing their current answer to the essential question. At the end of the unit, each student created a scientific sketch to answer the question. Here's an example of one student's sketch.
They then participated in the talk protocol, "Stronger and Clearer Each Time" [i]. Here's how it worked: Each student found a partner and explained his/her drawing. After hearing and seeing their first partners’ ideas, they had a chance to revise their drawing and understanding before sharing with a second partner. They repeated the process, exchanging ideas three times in all. Their understanding of the seasons became stronger and clearer each time they shared.