10/28/2023 / Education

Moving Forward Using AI in the classroom

As I began to plan for the new school year, I explored using ChatGPT, the generative chatbot from Open AI. It was my first exploration into what was new technology for me. Beginning slowly into this new tool, I created simple things such as composing an email and my back to school introductory letter. To say I was amazed is an understatement. Soon, I dove deeper and I wondered what it could do for subject areas such as math. As I described in my August article  “Make AI Work for You as You Prep for Fall” I input “ideas to help students refresh math facts” and was pleasantly surprised with the list of 15 ideas presented. 
Exploring deeper into the AI (Artificial Intelligence) tool and finding many AI applications, I began to expand my knowledge using more subject area input. ChatGPT is a fun and useful  resource for lesson planning. Using the objectives for my math lesson, I input, “Use patterns and the properties of multiplication to calculate a product when multiplying by a power of 10, use whole number  exponents to write powers of 10”. Once I submitted my message, the following explanation appeared: 


Notice the word “Regenerate” in the bottom right corner. If you click this it refreshes your input and comes up with a renewed response. The AI provides a response, but then also asks, “Is there a specific example you’d like me to demonstrate?” Essentially you can input any problem from a math textbook or lesson for demonstration. I input “Please demonstrate how 10^0 is 1”. This was the AI response: 



 


Next, I input, “activities to round decimals”. Below are two of the eight suggested activities. 


Finally, I wanted more practice math problems to help reinforce the skill of ordering decimals. I input, “ I need word problems to help reinforce the skill of ordering decimals.” AI offered eight word problems, three are shown below. 


After offering the word problems, AI also stated, “Remember to encourage students to carefully read and understand the word problems. They should identify the relevant information and use their understanding of ordering decimals to solve them. Additionally, encourage them to explain their thought processes and reasoning.”

In social studies I wanted to explore landforms and waterways in the United States and Canada. My input was again taken from the objectives of the lessons. First, I input, “geographic facts about the United States and Canada.” A sampling of the facts, three of seven, is shown below for each: 


Out of curiosity, I input, “differences between states and provinces”. 

States and provinces are administrative divisions within countries, but they are used in different countries and have some distinct characteristics. Here are the key differences between states and provinces:
States:


  • Location: The term "state" is primarily used in the United States and some other countries that have a federal system of government.
  • Sovereignty: In the U.S., each state is considered a semi-sovereign entity with its own government, constitution, and laws. States have certain powers independent of the federal government.
  • Representation: Each state in the U.S. has equal representation in the Senate, while representation in the House of Representatives is based on population.
  • Governors: States have governors who are elected to oversee the state government.
  • Constitutional Authority: States have the authority to manage internal affairs, such as education, transportation, law enforcement, and public health, as long as these do not conflict with federal laws.
  • Amendments: States can propose amendments to their own constitutions.
  • Boundary Changes: In the U.S., states cannot be created or eliminated without the consent of the affected state(s) and Congress.


Provinces:


  • Location: The term "province" is primarily used in countries that follow a unitary system of government or in federal countries where "province" is the term for their subnational divisions.
  • Sovereignty: Provinces are typically subordinate to the national government and derive their authority from it. They do not possess the same level of semi-sovereignty as states.
  • Representation: Representation in the national legislature (e.g., Parliament in Canada) is based on population, and provinces may have varying levels of representation.
  • Premiers: Provinces have premiers who are the head of the provincial government.
  • Jurisdiction: Provinces are responsible for areas like education, healthcare, transportation, and other areas of governance that are not under federal control.
  • Constitutional Authority: Provinces' powers are defined and limited by the national constitution or laws.
  • Boundary Changes: In some countries, provinces can be created, abolished, or changed more readily by the national government.


“It's important to note that these are general characteristics, and the specifics can vary widely depending on the country and its legal and political system. Different countries have different names for their administrative divisions, like "regions," "territories," "cantons," or other terms, each with its own unique characteristics.”


Finally, my students are reading a complex story that is supplemented by a famous speech by Chief Joseph. I wanted to provide some background knowledge of this famous person, so I input, “Pretend you are Chief Joseph and answer students' questions in a way fifth grade students would understand”. The response below is  amazing and provided a kid friendly look into Chief Joseph. Any historical character can be inserted for grade level understanding of their speech, life, or actions. I found this response to be amazing: 


Of course, I'll do my best to answer questions as if I were Chief Joseph, in a way that fifth-grade students can understand.
Student 1: Chief Joseph, can you tell us about your tribe and where you lived?
Chief Joseph: Sure! My tribe was called the Nez Perce, and we lived in the beautiful land of what is now Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. We had a deep connection to the land and the animals that lived there.
Student 2: Why did you have to leave your homeland?
Chief Joseph: That's a sad story. We had to leave our homeland because some people from the U.S. government wanted us to live on a smaller piece of land. We didn't agree with them, so we tried to go to a safer place, but we were stopped.
Student 3: What was the journey like for your people?
Chief Joseph: It was a very hard journey. We had to travel a long, long way through mountains, forests, and rivers. Many of our people were tired and sick, and it was very cold during parts of the trip.
Student 4: How did you try to keep your people safe during this journey?
Chief Joseph: We did our best to protect our people. We moved quietly and carefully, and we tried to avoid fights with the people who were chasing us. We wanted to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Student 5: What did you say in your famous speech?
Chief Joseph: In my famous speech, I talked about the pain and sadness we felt for having to leave our homeland. I said, "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." I meant that we didn't want to fight anymore. We just wanted to live in peace.
Student 6: What can we learn from your story, Chief Joseph?
Chief Joseph: You can learn about the importance of standing up for what you believe is right, even in difficult times. It's also important to try to find ways to make peace and understand one another, even when things are tough.
“Remember, it's good to learn about history because it helps us understand how we can make the world a better place today.”

While I love using and experimenting with the various forms of AI, I do realize there has been a lot of discussion recently about how AI could change education as we know it. More specifically, some feel that it could potentially replace teachers. I do not foresee this happening as teachers provide much more than facts and rote knowledge. Also, the human elements of caring, compassion and patience to name a few, cannot be replaced by artificial intelligence. AI should be viewed exactly as it is- an advanced technology tool that can help research, build activities, and lessons, as well as provide facts and practice. Let’s not forget it is not fool proof and needs the human eye to determine its value and accuracy. AI takes from the information of yesterday, and teachers are creating in the present, looking forward, and helping our students grow using the elements of what, when, and how they learn new knowledge. While I’ll continue to explore and enhance my lessons with the latest technology, my creativity and knowledge of my students will still be forefront in my lesson planning. 



Published by Middleweb
Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher and NBCT Professional Learning facilitator. She is a fifth grade educator in upstate New York who reviews and writes regularly for MiddleWeb. With a passion for literacy and learning in the classroom, she participates in various writing workshops, curriculum writing endeavors, and math presentations. As a lifelong learner, she is an avid reader and researcher of educational practices and techniques. Collaborating with colleagues and globally on Twitter https://twitter.com/Kathie_Palmieri and expanding her education adventures at www.kathleenpalmieri.com is an ongoing practice. 

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Kathleen Palmieri

Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher, a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Learning Facilitator, and a fifth grade educator in upstate New York. She reviews professional texts and writes education articles for Middleweb. As a writer with a passion for pedagogy, Kathleen's focus is on education practices and strategies, as well as her own experiences as an educator. She has presented at math conferences, writing workshops, actively collaborates in literacy projects, and networks globally. 
KathleenPalmieri.com