Meeting the needs of ALL students
I first heard about Marcia Tate in my first semester at the University of Lethbridge in my Curriculum and Instruction class. Her work “Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites” was presented to us as a class to challenge us as pre-service teachers to design innovative lessons that engage our students and allow them to make connections to their learning. In my lessons, I strive to provide students with authentic learning opportunities, which allow them to form analogies, draw conclusions or create connections to their own life/things that they can relate to. This helps students to understand concepts, rather than just remember them.
This activity was designed to teach the students about the various organelles in plant and animal cells, their function and an analogy for each organelle. Eleven organelles were used and nine teams were made; each team had a different starting point and all teams ended at the same point (the teacher aka. the ribosomes because we synthesize their learning). The teams needed to scan their first QR code, which was given to them on their sheet. Once they had read their clue and determined the organelle described, they needed to figure out what structure in the school would best represent that organelle. At each analogy, 9 QR codes were posted. Students scanned the QR code that corresponded with their colour to get their next clue! Below I have attached the locations around the school that we used to represent each organelle as well as a sample worksheet.
To help students make connections to the structure and functions of the various organelles in the cell, students were given an organelle and asked to make a job application for it.
This activity was again designed to help students learn the various organelles in plant and animal cells and their functions. Each student used a cookie, pie or cake and candy to build their very own cell. After building the cell, students needed to explain their candy choices and answer questions about various organelles, their function and an analogy to go with it.
Science 10 students were asked to research a chemical that First Nations people used. The purpose of this assignment was for students to develop a sense of respect for the First Nations people and an understanding that the First Nations made effective use of resources that come from the land. Students were asked to discuss what the chemical was, where the chemical originated from, who used it and what it was used for.
As an introduction to the chemistry unit, I began our first class with a flame colour demonstration. I dissolved CuCl2, NiCl2, LiCl, KCl, SrCl2 and CaCl2 in methanol. I placed each solution into a crucible and let the students watch them burn.
In class today we studied the atomic theories proposed by Dalton, Thomson, Rutherford, Bhor and Heisenberg. After watching several YouTube clips, using various analogies and having a great class discussion regarding the differences between the theories, one student voiced his idea that it would be great if we could act this theory out (this way not in my plan at all). I really liked this students idea so we went down the hall to an open space and acted out each persons theory.
To begin class (and recap the previous class) students were asked to put themselves into groups of 3. Each group was given an envelope and told that the envelope contains 5 theorists names including 3 written descriptions and 1 picture, which match with each theorist for a total of 25 pieces. Students were immediately engaged in the activity as they worked through to make connections to the previous days learning and activity.
To give students the opportunity to get acquainted with the periodic table (and some of the terminology used) the students played periodic table battleship. We used laminated periodic tables and whiteboard markers. As with the classic game, each player was allowed to cover 5 elements, 4 elements, 3 elements and 2 elements. Each students would then use the group/family number and the period number to converse with their opponent about the location on the periodic table – they were not simply allowed to use the name or symbol of the element.
Activity credited to Peggy Au.
Students were divided into groups of three. Each group was given an envelope with 20 squares. Each square had a description of atoms 1 through 20 on the periodic table. The students were then asked to create the shape of the periodic table, with their group, using the squares they had been given.
I began class by asking students if reactivity increased or decreased down a group. I then asked them, based on this knowledge, will sodium (higher on the table in group 1) or calcium (lower on the table in group 2) be more reactive. I then placed calcium and sodium in water. In the beaker with sodium I also added phenolphthalein indicator to show students that the products of the chemical reaction are basic (scaffolding of learning, hooking them into a future topic). After, we looked at the energy level diagrams of sodium and calcium and had a discussion about why sodium was in fact more reactive.