This video clip shows the opening of this lesson . . . which proves that you are never too old for a story! Today's lesson focuses on sharing student-developed children's stories that introduce the concepts of photosynthesis or cellular respiration.
The students have created their own children's stories about photosynthesis and/or cellular respiration in a previous lesson are are prepared to share their works of art in today's lesson. Before we get started with the class creations, the students will watch this video clip that will review the interaction between the two chemical processes, photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
Students will write down three facts that they learned or reviewed from watching the video.
Most students have not participated in a Circle Time activity since their early elementary years, but this activity lends itself to taking a step back in time and allowing the students to reminisce about their days in elementary school.
Students will organize into their lab groups of 4-5 students and form a circle with their chairs. The circle formation encourages group participation and places all students on an equal footing as they prepare to share their children's story that discusses either the process of photosynthesis or cellular respiration. Knowing that students are usually timid to share with their peers, the teacher has decided that the oldest group member will read their story first, followed by the second oldest, and so on. This strategy of selecting presentation order is an easy way to get students talking and relieve the stress of presenting their personal projects.
Students had a full day in class to brainstorm and begin their projects and we offered 10 minutes the following day to receive feedback from their peers. Many students passed on the opportunity to collaborate on the second day. Please view the Teacher Reflection below that discusses this experience. The students then had the weekend to wrap-up their projects and put the finishing touches on their children's book. In all students had four days to complete this project.
Students were encouraged to select the chemical reaction, either photosynthesis or cellular respiration, that they needed the most support to understand so they could use this creative writing assignment as a review for an upcoming assessment. Here is a very basic Assessment Rubric that will used to assess the students' work. As creative writing becomes a more common activity in science classes, the assessment rubrics will evolve to be more specific and selective, but for now the rubrics are generalized and encourage students to think outside of the scientific box and be creative with how they are learning the Biology curriculum!
Group Story Time Video Clip #1: The students seemed engaged and excited to share their creative writing children's stories! Each group was on task and group members listened attentively as their peers shared their masterpieces.
Group Story Time Video Clip #2: It is difficult to hear because all of the groups were reading their stories at the same time, but in person you were able to observe students sharing their work with passion and excitement . . . two things that are rarely seen when discussing photosynthesis or cellular respiration. For this reason, this assignment was deemed a huge SUCCESS!!!
After each group member had the opportunity to share their creative writing short stories, the groups nominated the student whose work best captured the spirit of the assignment. The students selected the work that most accurately conceptualized the chemical processes of photosynthesis or cellular respiration, as well as the entry that best captured the spirit of a children's book! the highest quality creative writing piece was shared in front of the class. Students were not forced to share, but most were delighted to highlight their efforts and took pride in reading their books in front of the class. There a few students who were too shy to present and their group members stepped-up and read their books for them so they class could hear their exemplary scientific creative writing stories. Students really dove into the project and exceeded my expectations! Here are a few video clips that captured the spirit of the activity and exemplified photosynthesis and cellular respiration coming to life in Biology!
Story#1: Princess Photosynthesis
Story #2: Abby The Flower
Story #3:The Life of a Seed
Story #4: The Life Of The Little Green Fern
As a summative activity for this lesson, students will be provided the opportunity to reflect on their writing process by responding to the following prompts.