Author's Tips

  • Involve students in the lesson, especially to create a frame of reference.

    • For example, when talking about a forest, give students a brief assignment to draw/describe a forest. Then, give students a brief amount of time to share in class before sharing what your view of the forest is to lead into the lesson.

  • Use formative assessment probes to understand 1) what the student already knows and 2) student misconceptions.

  • Try and inquiry-based classroom so that students can drive the learning.

    • Student learning can still be channeled, and standards still addressed, while allowing students time to explore a concept.

    • For example, when extracting DNA from a sample, bring in several different items (bananas, strawberries, wheat germ, onions, and our own body cells all work well). Print out a variety of protocols and let students try different combinations. As long as they hit the key ingredient of soap/detergent (needed to break up the lipid bilayer), they should be at least somewhat successful.

      • I use the "power of yes" and the response "hmm, it didn't work? Try again! What could you do differently?" frequently in activities like this. As long as what the students suggest isn't harmful and won't break anything, I let them try.