This lesson utilizes a ten minute video clip from PBS's series called Art21. The episode is called "ecology" and can be found on their website. The clip, which starts at minute 43:40, focuses on the large scale modern environmental art installation of Mark Dion entitled Neukom Vivarium. The clip fosters a student small group and large class discussion concerning the major themes found throughout the study of biology as outlined in our textbook, Biology: Exploring Life by N. Campbell et. al. and published by Prentice Hall.
I love this lesson because...
I shared some of my thoughts about this lesson in this short video below. To help you as a teacher formulate your own class discussion prompts and/or guide the classroom conversation, I've included this brief summary of science and ecology themes found throughout the ten minute clip showing Mark Dion's work and process.
At the start of the class, I list out on the board and together we briefly review the major/broad themes of biology they have previously read about in their textbook. They are:
Form & Function
Reproduction & Inheritance
Interaction with the Environment
Energy & Life
Adaptation & Evolution
Biology & Society
1. I tell students we are going to watch a video and that I want them to be thinking about how what they see fits with what they already know about our themes. Together, we watch the video clip which begins at the 43:40 mark in the Ecology episode of the Art21 series.
2. I pass out the accompanying video guide prompts. We read the prompts aloud as a large group. I then ask students to write down some quick notes/impressions/ideas connecting the prompts to our video clip.
3. I ask each student to pick one prompt that they are specifically interested in discussing further and put a star by it on their handout.
1. Use the Four Corners (jigsaw) approach and have students to move to the area of the room where the discussion of their chosen prompt will be taking place. I post handwritten signs for each prompt corner to help students find their chosen spot for discussion.
2. Once students have gone to the Four Corner area associated with their preferred discussion prompt, allow each group to have 10-15 minutes to talk about their prompt responses and organize their collective thoughts to share out with the large group later.
For our large class discussion, each prompt group chooses a spokesperson/people to share out their major comments with the group and field responses from the entire class.
I just completed this lesson last week and put together a few of my follow up thoughts in this video below. I've also included a sample of student group talking points posters that came out of their prompt discussions for you to view as a potential option to get kids talking and sharing.
Now on to Day 2 where students explore the themes of biology in relation to their own personal science knowledge!