Reflection: Student Grouping Controversies in Genetics - Multiday Project - Section 3: Getting into Teams


Forming teams for a project such as this one is not always easy. I want students to be comfortable enough with their teammates so that they are willing to take risks and join in the conversations. I also want all the students to have a voice, and trust each other enough to listen openly to different points of view, without dismissing ideas that do not jive with their own. In order to do that, I have devised a little system:

  1. I look over a project to determine what "process skills" will be needed. In this case, it was research, writing, oral communication (for presentations) and technology use ( as in "Is the student able to learn how to use new tech on the fly?). 
  2. I determine the "soft skills" that students need or could create a conflict when working in this project. In this case I used leadership, work ethic, voice and attention to detail.
  3. With these in place, I create a spreadsheet with my roster. I use two scales to rank the students. "Process skills" are ranked as 2 if the student possesses the skill or 1 if not quite there. Inversely, "soft skills" are ranked 1 if the student possesses the skill or 2 if not quite there.  
  4. I group the students by equal scores, and then consider personalities. For example, I tend to group strong voices together so that no one student dominates the conversation in a team. I also consider whether the students have worked together in the past (and how that went), and finesse the teams by considering academic ability and language skills .

This system has given me good results, as it takes several skills into consideration, and gives me something tangible to base the groups on. It also makes the selection more transparent for me. For obvious reasons I do not share the ranking with the students. 

  Creating Teams
  Student Grouping: Creating Teams
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Controversies in Genetics - Multiday Project

Unit 6: Genetics
Lesson 13 of 14

Objective: SWBAT apply their knowledge of genetics and discuss the issues that arise from the application of modern biotechnology.

Big Idea: Difficult ethical issues can occur when using information obtained through modern biotechnology.

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