Written Case Study Critique Analysis

Scenario 1: Balance Beams (observed class lesson) 

Jenny, the 4th grade classroom teacher, wanted her students to understand that a balance beam will

balance if the number of tiles multiplied by the distance on one side of the pivot point is equal to the

number of tiles multiplied by the distance on the other side of the pivot point. To teach this concept

Jenny asks students to get themselves into groups of 5 and provides each group with a balance beam

and tiles to explore this concept. Once most of the groups were seated, she commenced with the

activity instructions. First, Jenny instructed the groups to place 4 tiles on the 8th peg on the left arm

of the balance beam. Next she requested that the students place 1 tile on the 2nd peg on the right

side of the pivot point. Some groups were having difficulties following the instructions, so she drew a diagram representing the instructions on the board. Jenny then challenged the class to find a solution

for balancing the beam without removing the tiles (ie. the tiles placed on the 8th and 2nd pegs were

not to be moved). Jenny went back to her desk and observed the groups trying to solve the problem.

There were lots of discussions and sometimes arguments between group members in their attempt to

solve the problem. Jenny didn’t interject because she believed the children needed to solve the

challenge for themselves. There were some kids not engaged at all in their group activity but instead

were talking with friends from other groups. She believed that ignoring the off task students would

mean those engaged wouldn’t be distracted and have their attention taken away from the challenge.

Most groups used trial and error in an attempt to balance the beam and to Jenny’s surprise it took

quite some time before groups began to come up with various solutions. The lesson ran well over the

allotted time. Once a couple of groups solved the problem, she had the class pack away and prepare

for the next lesson.

In relation to the above scenario­specific guidelines, answer the following;

1. Jenny’s lesson commences relatively well but ends poorly. Evaluate the progressive decline in her

lesson in terms of the theories: information processing, constructivism and behaviourism.

2. How could the students’ learning of the concept be improved?

3. What recommendations would you make?

4. Key issues: In the case study you have selected, identify the significant learning and teaching

issues facing the teacher and learners. Also identify relevant theories (Information Processing

Constructivism, Ausubel?s Reception­Learning Model, Social Constructivism or Bruner?s DiscoveryLearning

Model) that underpin the key issues. The “Scenario Specific Guidelines” are designed to

guide your identification of both the issues and related theory.

5. Implications: Evaluate the positive and negative aspects of what the teacher does and the impact

of these on the learners (implications). The implications need to be linked to relevant theory and

research to substantiate their evaluation and discussion.

6. Recommendations: Highlight recommendations to improve or further the teacher’s approach in the

chosen scenario. Your recommendations should be clearly supported by specific relevant theoretical

and research literature.

Must use the following texts:


Educational psychology


Publication manual of the American Psychological Association.

Notes: Includes bibliographical references and index.

Publication Date: 2010

Edition: 6th ed.

ISBN: 9781433805615

LCCN: 2009010391

OCLC Number: (NUWS)813927­uwsdb­Voyager

Place of publication: Washington, DC :

Publisher: Washington, DC : American Psychological Association



4. https://ac.els­­s2.0­S0742051X03001185­main.pdf?





Child development and education

Author: Teresa M. McDevitt

Notes: Includes bibliographical references and index.

Publication Date: 2013

Edition: 5th ed.

ISBN: 9780132486200


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