Reflection: ELL Students Amazing Ants- Group Behavior In Insects - Section 2: Explore


There are many benefits to acting out ideas in science.  Students are more likely to remember it because they are physically engaged and making their own meaning from the experience.  It gives students who are learning English as a second language a way to experience an idea that isn't completely tethered to an understanding of vocabulary, instead, they experience the vocabulary, even if it's something as simple as the word gather, for example.  I have observed that acting something out leads students to explore avenues of thought that they don't go down otherwise.  

I think the one very important cautionary measure is that the students understand very clearly that they are people playing out certain roles and that is in no way truly comparable to the instinctive behavior of an animal in the wild.  I pay attention to be certain that I don't hear students refer to something they've acted out as a known reality of an animal behavior.  They need to refer to it as, "When we were collecting food as a group, I  realized that it was harder for us..."  

 You might find this article, Studies Find Students Learn More by 'Acting Out' Text, interesting.  While the study is based on literature, I have read additional neuroscience papers that substantiate the idea that this phenomena isn't isolated to reading fiction alone.  It makes sense!

  Acting it Out in Science
  ELL Students: Acting it Out in Science
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Amazing Ants- Group Behavior In Insects

Unit 7: Animal Groups
Lesson 5 of 6

Objective: Students will discuss observations about the cooperative of ants.

Big Idea: Group behavior serves different purposes in different animal communities, but it always benefits the species as a whole.

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Science, predator, prey, animal, Groups, herds
  52 minutes
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