Reflection: Backwards Planning Cellular Respiration - Follow-up - Section 5: Collaborative


This is one of those moments I feel the need to pull out my soap box!

Activities like this can be an amazing way to add kinesthetic learning and raise the engagement of the learning community.  They can also ruin the focus of the learning.  Not handled properly  the lesson can degenerate into a lesson on candy.

"What did you do today in school?"  

"We played with candy!"


"No clue but it was fun."

To avoid this common pitfall, you should constantly refer back to the learning goal of the day both in your whole class instruction and your questioning with kids.  Another great way to make sure that kids understand why you are playing with candy is to use some metacognitionat the end of the lesson and ask kids HOW the activity helped them understand the learning goal.

The most important thing you can do to make sure that any activity will work in a lesson is to use backwards planning to make sure it fits with the big idea of the lesson.  Many teachers start planning by taking a string of activities and putting them together into a lesson.  This might make sense to adult science teacher learners....but it won't make sense to kids.  If you want your students to make connections and find bigger meaning, you have to backwards plan a lesson and align every moment of the class to the learning goal.  Only in this way will the majority of students find meaning.

  Activity Alignment
  Backwards Planning: Activity Alignment
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Cellular Respiration - Follow-up

Unit 5: Energy in Life: Cellular Respiration
Lesson 4 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to understand the main idea of cellular respiration.

Big Idea: Cellular Respiration makes energy from food.

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