I am a first-year Pre-Calculus teacher at a public high school in the United States. The curriculum I am using often contains "Notice and Wonder" activities whenever a new concept is about to be introduced. The purpose of this type of activity, at least from my perspective, is to get the students to make sense of something that is unfamiliar to them. Students also get to hear their classmates' ideas on how to make sense of what is presented, which encourages a classroom environment where finding multiple ways to approach a problem is valued and appreciated.
I have tried to implement a few Notice and Wonder activities but I do not think I carried them out successfully. What I usually do is give students about 1 minute to observe the task and then I ask for volunteers to share what they noticed and wondered. For whatever reason, this is when I get a lot of blank stares; not many students have been willing to share what they noticed. I tell my students that there is no wrong answer when it comes to sharing what they noticed, but this has had little effect. Since I teach older students (11th and 12th graders), perhaps they are less enamored with the idea of Notice and Wonder.
My questions are:
- Is my understanding of the purpose of a Notice and Wonder activity valid?
- What is the best way to implement a Notice and Wonder activity?
- Do a Think-Pair-Share so that more students are confident enough to volunteer.
- Call on students regardless of whether or not they raise their hand (i.e. use a lottery system for randomness).
- Continue to maintain a classroom environment where the product (i.e. correct answer) is far less important than the process.