This two day lesson series gives students the opportunity to create their own analogies to help them understand and recall the names and functions of the main organelles in the cell.
During Day 1, students brainstorm potential ideas for their analogy writing and visual project.
On Day 2 students share their collaborative work with their classmates for further review and deeper understanding of the organelles and how they work together.
Students come into biology having first been exposed to cell structure in function in junior high school. However, the level of understanding and recall varies greatly from student to student and between their previous school sites. This activity is one that can be scaffolded up or down to meet students where they are and progress them forward in their overall understanding. All students benefit from the collaborative experience and appreciate getting to choose a partner and a topic unique and interesting to them personally; they enjoy working together with teacher support within the classroom setting and are proud to share their work with their classmates. Finally, allowing the students to reflect upon their challenges and growth in problem solving though our whole class discussion on Day 2 gives students the opportunity to think about their metacognition and recognize their strengths as a learner.
Our school is currently implementing the CCSS and are beginning to transition to the NGSS. These new standards emphasize collaborative settings, content area reading and writing, and opportunities to translate information from words to numbers to graphics. This project is something I will continue to tweak to enhance all three areas already present so that I can better support my students. I look forward to hear how you have shaped this activity to fit the needs of your students!
1. Remind students that they will be presenting their analogy work today. Give them five minutes with their partner to review their roles in their presentation along with our public speaking rubric that is on the board:
Volume (speak clearly/loudly)
Enunciation (slow down)
2. Allow each pair of students a maximum of 2 minutes to present their work. Be sure to have the audience clap/snap their appreciation after each short presentation. Each student group should address the following prompts posted on the board:
What is the name of your analogy and how did you and your partner decide to work with that specific topic?
What were the hardest organelles to find an analogy for? How did you figure out what the best choice would be?
What is the part of your project that you are most proud of? Why?
the Hunger Games arena,
an MP3 player,
a classroom created from a rug made on a loom, a movie theater, a human body, a model car, a plane, a concert venue, the White House, Hogwarts, Candyland, Santa's workshop, a restaurant, you name it! Kids love admiring each other's work and approaches to the activity, both 3D and handdrawn.
3. Please see the activity guidelines and rubric for consideration while viewing the written student work sample comparing a cell to a hospital. These two students kept their rationales for each organelle comparison short, but the basic understanding is still evident.
1. After all student groups have briefly presented their cell analogy visual representation and discussed some of their major organelles, ask each lab group to discuss the following prompts:
Which organelles were the most challenging to fit into your analogy and why?
Which organelles seem to be the most closely linked to one another in the cell?
2. Use the spokesperson protocol to share out class responses and add to and address any major comments or concerns that you hear about the functions of organelles within the cell.