Cell Poetry Cafe (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT describe the structure and function of their assigned cell organelle through the presentation of their personification poem and self-portrait masterpiece. Students will also develop narratives to visualize how the individual parts work as a whole to sustain the cell's life.

Big Idea

Students' creative writing will take center stage while the lights are dimmed and the poetry passion heats up! Cell organelles have never been so entertaining!

Lesson Introduction: Being The Guide On The Side

1 minutes

Students take center stage as the Biology classroom is transformed into a relaxed cafe to set the tone for the students' poetry reading!  This lesson is the conclusion of the previous lesson where students were encouraged to think outside the box by creating a persona for the oraganelle they researched.

Hook - Cell Organelle Rap

5 minutes

The lesson will begin with students watching the video clip to review the functions of cell organelles. Students will write down three facts they learned from watching the video clip in their Biology notebook.  

Although the video clip is intended for 6th graders but will serve as an effective anticipatory activity for the  high school Biology students.  The music video concept will demonstrate the need for the students to be entertaining and confident as they participate in today's poetry reading activity.  

Guided Practice - Spotlight On Student Poetry

30 minutes

In the previous lesson, the students were challenged to write a personification poem that brings one of the cell's organelles to life.  

The video clip capture's the set-up of today's Poetry Cafe .  

In today's lesson, students will have the opportunity to present their creative writing in front of the class in a cafe-like setting.  The lights will be dimmed while the student-presenters sit on a stool in the front of the room reciting their personification poems.  The audience members will be designing a self-portrait of their selected organelle while their peers are presenting their organelle poems.  Samples of student work can be viewed in the section below. Audience members will "snap" at the end of each performance to reinforce the efforts and creativity of their classmates.  This is the first time the students will be asked to present an original creative writing piece in front of class so it is imperative to create a supportive environment for all students to feel encouraged to share their work without judgement.

 As with many cafe-poetry readings the audience is doing an alternative activity which builds the confidence of the presenter because they do not feel that all eyes are staring at the student-presenter. 

Video Clips of Student Poetry Readings:



Independent Practice: Organelle Self-Portraits

10 minutes

At the conclusion of the student poetry readings, the class will continue to create their organelle "self-portraits".  Once the artwork is complete, students will hang their projects on the walls to share with their peers.  

There are no specific guidelines for this artistic expression activity, but a way for students to use alternative methods to convey their mastery of the curriculum.

Sample of Student Work - Cell Self-Portraits:

Sample of Student Work #1 - The Nucleolus: A bubbly character ready to be of service

Sample of Student Work #2 - The Lysosome: A dedicated character always willing to clean up the cell's messes

Sample of Student Work #3 - The Cell Membrane: A tough character that decides who is allowed to enter the cell

Sample of Student Work #4 - The Vacuole: A prepared character with lots of pockets to store water

Sample of Student Work #5 - The Ribosome: A rough character ready to build a protein at a moments notice

It was really important to make sure that each class signed up for their selected cell organelle topics, so that each organelle was researched, drawn, and hung on our walls to allow students to study from.  Without the use of a sign-up sheet, it would have been nearly impossible to track the students' topics to ensure all organelles were covered through this creative writing project.

Close - Crafting Our Cell Model Narrative

10 minutes

Students are able to walk around the room in a brief gallery-walk to view each of their peer's artwork.  Once each student has been able to soak in the Biology-inspired masterpieces, they will review the function of each of the organelles as they contribute to the cell model.  

The objective for this activity is for students to make a claim as to which organelle is most important for the cell to function properly and maintain homeostasis.  Students will need to review their lecture notes and read their textbook to identify facts that serve as evidence to support their claim.  So who will win the cellular blue ribbon for most important organelle . . . ?

Sample of Student Work - The Most Important Organelle

The Obvious Choice - The Nucleus:  This student with the safest choice by selecting the nucleus, but was able to provide supporting evidence to backup the claim.

Energy Is Important - The Mitochondria: This student made a claim that without the mitochondria the cell could not undergo the process of cellular respiration and would not be able to survive.

The Voice of Reason - All Organelles are Important: It seems like this student may have been listening to the lessons throughout this unit when I repeated many times that all organelles are essential to continue cellular function and maintain homeostasis!