Context for this case:
- Illustrations for students to work from.
- Bottle cap, thread, pencil for each group of student
Cognitive Apprenticeship Features:
- Provides practice in iteratively drafting instructions.
- Facilitates your coaching as groups edit.
Relevant CA Content
- To help students write instructions from scratch,
using what they have learned from the previous exercises.
- This is the first exercise of my instruction-writing set
in which students have
- no draft instructions to revise or repair, and
- no printed scaffolding to suggest where to start.
The "student version" here consists only of three figures, for
which students must create and (self-)edit all the instruction steps
themselves. Very like
Exercise 8, however, these illustrations
are well designed to depict a sequence of actions, so the
figures alone provide a kind of graphical scaffolding to guide
students as they write. Any of the previous worked examples
(Exercises 1 or 3),
or any others that the students have
successfully revised and improved, could serve them now as models for
completing Exercise 14. And of course the
should by now be a familiar checklist for planning and then editing
their own work.
I teach this exercise by pointing out that this project is like
explaining a new manufacturing process or scientific instrument to
colleagues at work: the writer tries it out, thinks about how to make
clear the steps and their relationship for readers who have not yet
tried it, and then uses guideline techniques to draft overt instructions
and tune them for effectiveness.
I divide the class into groups of 3 or 4 students and provide each
group with a "test kit" consisting of:
With just a little coaching, the students can easily construct the
spiral-drawing device from the parts provided (following hints in the
three figures) and take turns using it. Then, individually or as a
group collaboration, they draft instructions to go with the figures.
- a plastic bottle cap (from a water or fruit-juice bottle)
with a slit cut in the edge,
- about 1 foot of heavy thread or light string,
- a sharpened pencil, and
- a large sheet of paper on which to practice drawing spirals
with the assembled kit.
Since there is no single right answer for this exercise (although
many wrong ones, of course), one effective way to publicly consider and
compare candidate answers (and edit them on the fly) is to use a
flip chart or white board and large (4-by-6-inch) Post-it notes.
You can (or have students) post one separate draft step on each note,
then easily edit, replace, reorder, or restore the steps to refine
the proposed instructions with class feedback.
To offer students a structured, scaffolded way to start their
instruction drafting, see the "text matrix" approach explained
in Exercise 15.
(This exercise has been generously adapted for this project by artist
Brett S. Clark from an idea on p. 69 of Bill Gray's
influential Studio Tips, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976.)