Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Roles In An Ecosystem - Section 2: Engage


The Best Answer

I began my lesson on Roles in the Ecosystem with the strategy, The Best Answer. I asked my students to write (independently) a response to the question: How do living organisms get energy to grow, develop, and live?  By having them do their own thinking on paper, gave them an opportunity to process the question and form their own answer. After enough time, I explained to the class their next task was to have each group member share their answer with one another, one at a time and reminded them to listen carefully. Then once everyone within the group shared a response, they reconvened as a whole group where they discussed all the information members shared and work together on creating one response to be called the best answer.  I explain that it is not about picking only one answer from group member responses, rather it is combining relevant and key ideas from all responses to construct the best answer possible.  This collaborative discussion had them use their analytical skills as they examined each group member’s response by finding, rationalizing, and determining relevant ideas. With this lesson on Roles in an Ecosystem, I found students engaged and collaborative throughout their task. As I walked around the room, I realized students interpreted the question differently. Some responses related to getting enough sleep at night and exercising, while others wrote about the importance of food and eating fruits and vegetables.  I found it interesting the different point of views students made with this one question. 

I find The Best Answer strategy an effective way allowing students wait time to process a response, feel they have something to bring to a group discussion, and gets students to work together.  This strategy can be used in various ways and different points of the lesson like launching or hooking students at the start, summarizing key concepts from a lesson, and engaging students in discussion. They feel a sense of ownership like they own some part of the response when sharing with the group, contributing to the discussion, and being a part of the work done to write The Best Answer.

Steps to The Best Answer

1.) Present a question to the class. Have each student write a response to the question on either a sticky note or paper.

2.) Students share their answer with other group members

3.) Students collaborate and discuss everyone’s written response; they are listening to determine relevant ideas and information that answer the original question.

4.) Students work together to combine ideas and information from each member’s original response to formulate a more thorough and detailed response.

5.) Each member’s response is placed in each corner of a paper and The Best Answer is placed in the center.

  The Best Answer
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: The Best Answer
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Roles In An Ecosystem

Unit 3: Ecosystems and Interactions
Lesson 17 of 19

Objective: SWBAT distinguish between producer, carnivore, herbivore, and omnivore.

Big Idea: Students will identify roles in an ecosystem by classifying organisms as producers, consumers, or decomposers.

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Science, Ecosystems, interaction
  60 minutes
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