Diving Deeper into the Human Body Systems (Day 4 of 4)
Lesson 8 of 9
Objective: SWBAT discuss each body system in depth through the creation of and interaction with student created presentations.
I have been using a version of this 4 day lesson series for the past few years and it has been a great way to end the year with students in charge of their learning at every level of the project, both as creators and as audience members. Our school has a wildly popular upper level Anatomy and Physiology course and in general, our general biology course doesn't include a significant amount of time in our curriculum framework to dig into the human body. This series of lessons is my way to honor our school and district norms for the introductory biology course focus while giving kids a taste of what they are going to be exploring in their next life science course.
On Day 1, we introduce the basic vocabulary of the human body systems and brainstorm student group project ideas. We also go through the basics of good oral and visual presentations using an informal rubric and past project examples for improvement analysis.
Day 2 gives student groups the opportunity to work together to plan and create their projects about one of the body systems
During Day 3, students explore each other's projects and summarize their learning about the basic concepts and terminology important to each body system.
And on Day 4, students participate in a whole group discussion of their overall learning and experiences with the project and complete a written formative assessment.
When we have had additional time in previous school year schedules, I have experimented with having each group present to the entire class but have since abandoned that model for my current gallery walk format. The individual presentations take a very long time at a timeframe during the school year where kids are pretty worn out. Additionally, without a significant amount of scaffolding and practice, student presentations can be pretty grueling for audience members simply because they aren't teachers or experts in their subject area yet. By adding in a whole class discussion and written formative assessment given after the initial project viewing session, I am able to bring in direct instruction in conjunction with the student driven projects. I can't wait to hear about your versions of this approach to introducing the human body systems!
1. Ask students to take out their human body systems key information document and the human body systems overview document. In their lab groups, have students compare their documents, noting any gaps or inconsistencies among the individual documents within each group. The key information master document can support you as you listen in to group conversations and observe areas that may need additional information and support through class discussion and/or the human body system slide presentation.
2. Tell students to take out their basic presentation guidelines document for oral and visual projects and refer to our simple oral presentation rubric posted on the board. Announce that the class will now briefly revisit each system, led by the project creators of that system.
1. For each of the human body systems, ask the project team creators to bring their project presentation board to the front of the room. Check out this student work sample poster for an example of the type of work student groups produce for this project.
2. Tell students that they will have 1:30 minutes to ask any clarifying questions or things that they are curious about and that the presenting team and I will answer them together. Repeat this process for each student team project. The goal here is for each student to have their key information document filled out completely. See my master document for support.
Note: By working as a partner with the project student team, I can lower their worries about being asked something they don't know the answer to right away or at all. My intention is to let the presenting group be the leaders and to step in if they ask me to (or look like they might like me to piggy back on their answer), or if I feel there is more to add.
3. What this process looks like in real life:
a) Each student pair brings up their poster.
b) Each team member discusses one section in approximately 15 seconds.
c) If there is missing information, or I feel that the team needs more support in order to highlight essential information, I ask prompts like the following:
Tell me more about…?
What did you find most interesting about…?
Was it difficult to find out about…?
What questions did you have before/after doing the project?
d) Ask the class for any additional clarifying questions and depending upon the eye contact or direct verbal messages the presenting team gives, I either repeat the question for the team to answer or I answer it for them. Typically, the team feels confident enough to start the answer and then I fill in any additional pieces that seem to be needed for group clarification.
1. Pass out the human body systems practice exam.
2. Give students the remaining time to fill it out on their own or in pairs.
3. At the end of the class, announce that this document is for them to use as a study tool and that the you will review the practice exam answers as a class prior to the upcoming exam on the human body systems.
- Note: In the past, I have simply photocopied blank copies of the original human body systems key information document that students have been using throughout this unit. However, I found that format did not give students enough practice answering detailed questions about the human body systems similar to what would be expected of them at the end of unit summative assessment. This additional document gives them more targeted practice and additional opportunities to discuss, clarify, question, and research the information they need to deepen their learning and boost their retention.