Week 2 – Modeling Biology Year 2

We started to actually get into it this week. After completing The Game of Science and discussing our WhiteBoard Meeting expectations we had our first WhiteBoard Meeting. One if my classes struggled with participation in the board with only about 50% of the class participating. My other class had more student involvement which was a plus, but a few students definitely contributed much more than the rest of the class.

After the WhiteBoard Meeting, the students took a few minutes and reflected on the prompt: “How was playing the game of science similar to solving a problem with the scientific method?”. We discussed their responses and came up with ideas such as; having an idea how game was played and testing it, revising ideas about play after looking at sample moves, and communicating ideas with group members.

Next my students all took the Biological Concept Inventory (BCI). The BCI is a 30 multiple choice test with questions that address the scope of the Modeling Biology Curriculum. The test is constructed in a way that draws out student misconceptions about concepts. It was very common for 25%-50% of my almost 40 kids to pick the same incorrect answer(s). I’ll need to make sure that I address these misconceptions during the year.

We had a Socratic discussion about experimental design vocabulary. We took the Flinn safety quiz.  The past two years I have scored the safety quiz, but utilized a zero weight for the assignment so it does not affect my students’ grades.  If I really want my grades to represent how my students are progressing towards learning targets, then I can not in good faith count the safety quiz towards their grade.

Next we transitioned to an experimental design lab. I provided my students with three different organisms and some observations that I made about the organisms. The choices were: (1) goldfish from the pond at school and their response to temperature, (2) Isopods and their response to the environment, and (3) peas and germination. Each group choose/were assigned an organism and they observed the organism, making a colored, labeled drawing and writing qualitative observations. Each group was then asked to develop a question to investigate, generate a hypothesis, and design an experiment to test their hypothesis.  My classes began designing experiments and we will conduct the experiments next week.

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About ryanwoodside

I help students learn science. I teach at Mt. Ararat High School in Mid-Coast Maine.
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One Response to Week 2 – Modeling Biology Year 2

  1. Marc Utheim says:

    Hey Ryan, I’m a bio modeler too. I learned it while working under Brenda Royce at University High School in Fresno, CA. It worked wonders for me and my kids were top scores in CA. I’m now teaching bio again in Texas to at or below grade level kids and they are a challenge mostly because they never have had to or been taught to think science. It’s all so new to them. Anyway, I’ll be following your progress through the year and feeding ideas back and forth. Glad to see another bio modeler. Now if I can just get the other three bio teachers to listen to new ideas.

    Marc

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