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Grades 2-5
3, 4, 5

Photon Education

Speaking and Listening, Participating in a Conversation

Duration time:
60 min.
Programming interface:
Photon DrawPhoton Joystick
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Reference to the core curriculum

Common Core English Standards: 
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3-5.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

ISTE Student Standards: 
- Knowledge Constructor 1.3a:   Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
- Knowledge Constructor 1.3b: Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.

Class goal:

  • To effectively communicate ideas in a discussion.
  • To follow agreed upon rules for discussions.

Required items:

  • 1 - 5 Photon Robot(s) and devices for programming.
  • Student texts.
  • Access to devices to complete research.
  • Guiding Questions to start the Discussion.

Lesson scenario:

Programming Interface: Joystick or Photon Draw via the Photon EDU App or the Photon Magic Bridge



  • The teacher will choose the text to be discussed.
  • The students will read the text with the appropriate level of teacher support.
  • The teacher will give the discussion questions to the students.  Be sure to include some questions that do not have one right answer or interpretation, but rather allow for multiple perspectives and opinions, for example “do you agree with what a character did?”. 
  • The students will complete any needed research to bring ideas to the discussion. 
  • Establish or review class norms for discussions. 
    For example:
    • Only one person talks at a time.
    • Be respectful of each other in the choice of words you use.
  • Determine who will start in the inner circle and who will start in the outer circle


Lesson Sequence: 

  • Review Classroom Norms for a Discussion.
  • Introduce “Fishbowl Discussion” by explaining that there will be two circles.  
    • In the inner circle, the students will discuss the text.  
    • In the outer circle, these students will be listening to the conversation and demonstrate when students are and are not following discussion norms set by the class.  Those in the outer circle will be setting the color of Photons ears to either green when they are following the norms or red when a norm is not being followed.  The teacher can choose whether or not the students will document what norms were not being used. 
  • Direct students into their assigned starting place.
  • Help the students get the conversation started by asking a question.  Let the students have a conversation without teacher interruption or interruption by those in the outer circle.
  • The teacher should allow the conversation to go on for the desired amount of time.
  • Variation:
    • The teacher can also choose to have the students rotate in and out of the circle.  One way to do this is to have an order of students to rotate in.  The next student can pick someone to rotate out by driving Photon into the circle in front of them and set the lights to a chosen color like orange.  When the student rotates in, they drive the Photon to the student who is next to rotate in and the pattern continues till time is out.
  • When the fishbowl is stopped, the teacher should lead a discussion about how norms were and were not followed. The teacher may also choose to debrief some of the discussion points that were raised during the fishbowl. 

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