Vice President for Education,
National Geographic Society
Students using crayons and a map of the world can draw their best guesses of what the distribution of temperatures is like all around the world in the month of July. This activity can be engaging to students, giving them a chance to draw on what they know in a way that makes them curious about what they don’t know. This lesson is based on research that says that if students are asked to articulate their current understanding of a phenomenon before they are taught something new about it, then they learn the new material more effectively because they can connect it to their existing understanding.
Giving people an image of what learning could be like is a really important part of improving education. Students, teachers, administrators, parents, policy makers, and community members have remarkably similar views of what education looks like, and those views have not changed much since we were in school.