Each group of students is given a card with the name of a level of organization and a card with a definition for a level of organization. The students examine their cards and develop a definition for their word and a label for their definition. Then I have one student from each group bring their card with the name of the level to the front of the room. The students stand in a line, holding their cards facing their classmates. I have the students decide as a class where each card should be placed on the bulletin board. After we have labeled the categories (cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and body), I then ask the students with the definition cards to come to the front of the room and stand in a line. I have each student read their card aloud and the class determines the word the definition on the card best matches.
Once we have labeled the bulletin board with the general words and definitions, each of the students is given a note card with a picture of either a cell, tissue, organ, or organ system. The students are asked to form organ system groups based on their cards. I designated areas of the classroom for each organ system to meet. After the students have divided themselves into groups, I review the levels of organization for each organ system. As I go through the groups, the students hold up their cards for their classmates to view the pictures. Once we have reviewed all of the groups, I have the students who had cards with cells on them come to the front of the room and hold their cards up. I explain that cells look different based on their function. Then I have the rest of the class walk by to look at the pictures of the cells, making note of the differences in their structures.
After our quick review, I return the students' flipped notes and notes reviews. I lead the students in a review of the key information from the notes. One of the items I focus in on is the manner in which the organ systems work together within the body. This portion of the discussion is facilitated by the question on the notes review that asks students which system is responsible for fighting disease. For this question some of the students responded that the circulatory system was the answer while other students responded that the correct answer was the immune system. This difference in answers allowed me to lead a discussion in which I asked the students if it was possible for systems to work together or if the systems work independently of one another. Working together, the students were able to conclude that some of the systems work together to fill their roles within the body.
After our review, the students log in to Google Classroom and access the assignment for the day, the levels of organization worksheet. I open the accompanying Centre of the Cell (University of London) Build an Organ Activity on the SMARTBoard. I review the instructions with the students and I go through the first activity with them. This activity can be a little difficult for the students, so I encourage them to work with a partner to discuss the information as they go along. This discussion between peers not only encourages collaboration, but it also helps the students think more critically about what they are doing and requires them to articulate their thoughts on the topic. I also encourage the students to read the instructions very carefully.
As the students work, I spend time conferencing with students who are still having difficulty with understanding the functions of the various cell organelles. I also use this time to meet with students who have been absent. I continue to check in with students who are working on the day's activity as well.
The exploration of the website and the ensuing discussion meets SP2 (Developing and Using Models) as students use models to understand how "systems can be visualized to describe how function depends on structure" - Cross Cutting Concept Structure and Function. The wrap up discussion addresses the Cross Cutting Concept of Systems and System Models as students explore the manner in which organ systems work together in the body. NGSS MS-LS1-3 is also addressed by this activity as students explore the manner in which the subsystems of the body work together.
Near the end of the hour, I lead a discussion regarding one of the questions on the worksheet. I ask the students to look back through the tissues they listed for each organ they have completed and to try to find tissues or cells that make up more than one organ. We discuss these tissues and cells and I ask the students to try and explain why organs might be made of similar tissues. This requires them to think about both the structure and the function of the organs.