In the Age of Ultron

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As Tony Stark says to David Banner, “We’re mad scientists, monsters. You gotta own it.

If you’re a mad scientist, you invent Ultrons and Visions. If you’re a teacher, you invent clever projects to make astronomy captivating – no small task in the Age of Ultron. We have a demanding audience today. They still enjoy making the volcano in science class, and watching baby chicks hatch, but it’s hard as heck to get them to make a daily record of the changing phases of the moon. They want action. They want adventure.

There’s a data monster loose in the land. This time-sucking beast can eat up most of the free hours in a week. Today’s post is for both the newbies and the weary. We’re teachers, lamplighters. We gotta own it. We are creators of web quests and Jeopardy games, builders of original board games designed to teach health and history. Our Martian backpack math lesson should not be sacrificed to administrative demands.

My luckier readers probably don’t understand what I’m talking about here, but many teachers working in academically-underperforming schools know or are about to learn. I have two lesson plans for one week in front of me from two different teachers. One is eight pages and the other is eighteen pages. In fairness, various blocks in the template on the longer plan were left blank, but my district was busy justifying itself to the state last year and lesson plan demands alone regularly consumed hours.

Eduhonesty: I strongly recommend creating the Martian backpack lesson first. Do the fun stuff and all other necessary pedagogical preparations first. When you are ready to light lamps, then go on to administrative exigencies and paperwork. In the Age of Ultron, our students have high expectations. We can’t let them down because we bogged down in government paperwork.