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Table 2 Evolving instructional task structure for the Air Quality Unit

From: A close look at change: the role of an instructional-team community on an Instructor’s evolution during instructional reform

Course: Fundamentals of Environmental Science and Sustainability
Content Topic: The Atmosphere: Air Quality and Pollution
Semester Pre-I-TP Participation Reform Semester 1
Reform Semester 2
• Interactive lecture: Driving Question Student Poll: Students asked to vote on whether they think air quality in the US is getting better, worse or staying the same.
• Task 1: Data Exploration Activity: Individual exploration of Air Quality Index (AQI website).
• Interactive lecture: Instructor defines relevant terms
• Interactive lecture: Instructor presents foundational topics related to ozone depletion.
• Task 2: Graphical Representation Activity: Students asked to graph the size of the ozone hole as a function of time while watching an animation.
Task 1: Mind-Map Activity: Students individually come up with questions about air quality to explore through ‘mind-mapping’.
Students introduced to a mind map building online program.
Students perform a peer-evaluation of mind maps.
Students generate potential quiz questions based on their mind maps.
Interactive lecture: Instructor introduces issues of ozone depletion and climate change.
Assessment: In-class, open note mind map and group quiz.
Task 1: Small Group Whiteboard Activity: Students individually explore Air Quality Index (AQI website) to find data, create a list of observations and questions on whiteboards. Team collects observations/questions and funnels to Instructor for post-task discussion.
Task 2: Small Group Whiteboard Activity: Students provided with categories of air pollutants and asked to collaboratively investigate sources of these pollutants.
Assessment: Individual in-class quiz.
Interactive lecture: Students come to class with an article on ozone and a question they would like to have answered through interactive lecture.
Watch videos: Reproduce the chemistry of ozone formation and depletion from videos on group whiteboards.
Task 3: Question Exploration: Planned and impromptu questions for exploration using online resources, voting using ABCD cards, and whole-class discussion.
Task 4: Topic Sorting Worksheet: Students provided with a word bank of topics and 4 large categories, asked to work in groups.
Task 5: Identifying Misinformation Whole-Class Activity: Students provided with 4 pictures and captions from ‘reliable’ sources and asked to predict how misinformation may be presented.
Task 6: Potential Quiz Question Generation: Students work in groups to generate quiz questions, then peer review other groups’ questions, for summative assessment.
Assessment: In-class quiz: Individual then group component. Peer grading of quiz during class.
  1. A breakdown of the structure of an instructional unit about air quality for three semesters. The semester before the case-study period (Semester Pre-I-TP Participation) the unit was carried out within one 50-min class session. In the first semester of the case-study period (Reform Semester 1), a low-structure mind-mapping task was conducted over nine 50-min class sessions. In the second semester of the case-study period (Reform Semester 2), an increase in structure and instructional strategies supported students’ generation and investigation of questions of interest. In this semester, the unit was carried out over eight 50-min class sessions