Describe a constructivist lesson you would teach.
One lesson you could teach in a constructivist way would be a lesson on density. You would have various liquids like molasses, karo syrup, water, and oil and first, ask the students to predict on their own what would happen when they were all poured into the same glass. This would show you their existing schemas. Then, they'd actually complete this task and break any misconceptions that they might've had previously. At this point, you would stop and discuss findings as a group. You could then take it further by asking them to hypothesize about if they dropped various items into the concoction to see where they ended up floating or sinking. Then, they'd complete the task. I believe that this authentic, inquiry-based, hands-on learning really contributes to the students constructing schemas.
Which of these learning activities/skills lend themselves to student’s individual or group construction?
I think that many of the activities of constructivism tend to be useful in both individual and group construction. Some of the suggestions that the book mentions are: providing opportunities for firsthand observation and experimentation, presenting experts' perspectives, emphasizing conceptual understanding, encouraging classroom dialogue, assigning authentic activities, and creating a community of learners. I think for individual construction, in particular, presenting expert perspectives and providing authentic activities are very important because these seem like they would be the most conducive to breaking previous misconceptions and providing engaging and realistic material for the students to construct schemas from. Regarding the lesson above, you would be providing opportunities for firsthand observation and experimentation, encouraging classroom dialogue, creating a community of learners, and assigning an authentic activity. All of these lend themselves to both individual and group construction because each student makes their own hypotheses, but they also work and discuss as a group during the activity.
Below is an example of a constructivist approach being used in a classroom:
How might you structure learning activities that lead students to discover these skills/these principles?
I think good planning is what is needed for students to discover these skills. I think it is the teacher's responsibility to facilitate these through their lessons by providing the experiences mentioned in the question above (authentic activities, etc.). Providing necessary time and materials are also key to this discovery. I believe that if you stick with an inquiry-based approach to learning, much of the students' experiences will be somewhat constructivist because they will be doing their own thinking and creating schemas out of these experiences.