STEPS   1    2    3    4


STEP 4 – Guided Discussion
Making Connections
Students review questions that arose during the first three steps and discuss where they might find the answers to those questions.

Instructions (downloadable pdf)

After completing the two Observation and Discussion sessions (Step 1) (first with an art image and then with a map dataset), the BIO model includes the development of a parking lot of questions. The purpose of this is to gather questions the students may have about the topics, data, images they just observed and discussed and also for you as the teacher to insert relevant questions you may have to get the students directed towards investigating and understanding the content and lesson objectives for your unit. So while you should not tell the students the ‘right’ answer in the VTS-inspired discussions in order to keep the observations and discussion flowing and open, you can seed the thinking with the questions you pose.

The questions you provide in the fencepost activity and the additional mapped datasets you choose for the data sketches activity also help you achieve your content learning goals and get the students thinking about, researching, and answering relevant questions related to your learning standards.  In essence, you are setting the pathway for them to walk down to discover the answers for themselves.

A very important part of the process is the last step – the discussion at the end of the data sketches activity meant to make connections and discuss what was discovered. It is a time teachers can use to make clarifications and make sure content is covered. This occurs after each student group presents on their mapped datasets/overlap assessment to the class, answering: “Why did you choose that design tool? Was there anything interesting you discovered when you mapped the data? What correlations were you able to find when you layered your maps? What do these maps tell us about ______ (topic)?”


In this final step, and after these presentations, the parking lot questions from the first part of the BIO model should be revisited and the class should review if the answers were found during the rest of the activities or if more sleuthing and research needs to be done.  This can also be a great jumping off point for other related lessons and activities related to your content.

Suggested questions for the end discussion:

What questions did we answer?

What questions remain?

How can we find the answers to the remaining questions?

What skills/tools have we learned that can help us answer them?

What research can we do? What additional data do we need?