Is All This Burning Necessary? (Part 4/4)

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Students will compare their data with data from a Long-term Ecological Research Site.

Big Idea

It's the day after the big field trip. Students make sense of everything they saw.

What Students will Learn in this Lesson

1 minutes

In today's lesson, students will have a debriefing session concerning yesterday's field trip. First, they will summarize what they learned in an in-class writing. Because this is a trip my biology classes take every year, I value their feedback in order to keep this trip relevant for their peers. They will discuss what things needed to be added to make the trip better. They will explain what needs to not continue to occur in next year's trip. They will offer suggestions for things that need improvement or what was good about the trip and needs to stay the same. This discussion technique is based on a Boy Scout discussion strategy called Start, Stop, Continue. It is a wonderful way to quickly get feedback from a group of students and give them ownership in the planning process. The local field study can be found at this link. The analysis of the field study can be found at this link.  The lesson that describes the field trip to compare our data with the LTER site's data is found hereThis part three of a multi-day lesson. The other lessons can be found at these links (Part 1Part 2, and Part 3). Here is what the students will learn today.

Hook/Check for Understanding

5 minutes

Share photos taken at yesterday's field trip to jog students memory about what they did. Then ask them to get out their lab notebooks and summarize what main goal of each of the part of the field trip.  

Student Writing: Three, Two, One

40 minutes

Ask students to write an short in-class essay in their lab notebook that explains

  • three new things that learned about the prairie
  • two things that surprised them about their trip to Konza
  • one thing that they would change about the trip or add to the trip, if given the chance.


Students should only have the class period to write their essay (unless otherwise stated in their IEP). When they are finished, students should turn their lab notebook into the teacher for evaluation.

Here are two examples of students' essays (sample one and sample two).

Putting It All Together: Start, Stop, Continue

10 minutes

Bring the students back together as a class. Write Start, Stop, and Continue on the whiteboard. Explain to students that their feedback is needed to continue to make this annual trip a success. Ask them to think about everything that happened yesterday (from student behavior to the type of activities they did.) Ask students to suggest several items that they would have liked to see on yesterday's field. Record their feedback under the START heading.

Next, ask them what happened on the field trip that should never happen again. Record their feedback under the STOP heading.  Finally, ask students what went well. Students should explain what should continue to happen on future trips. Recored their feedback under the CONTINUE heading. While students are giving feedback, write all responses on the board. Save their feedback to help improve future field trips.