This week I have started new topics with all of my stage 4 and 5 classes. Year 7 have just started 'Cells & Classification', Year 8 'Elements & Compounds', Year 9 'Being Connected' and in Year 10 we are doing 'Genes & Evolution'. In order to try to boost engagement and interest in these topics, this week I have introduced a few new ideas in order to try to 'catch' them.
With my Year 8s, we started off the topic by looking at the structure of the atom and the history behind our current understanding of the different parts and where they are located. In order to try to make this history part a little bit more exciting, I created an Instagram template using Google Drawings that the students then used to create a post as if they were one of the scientists involved in the development of the atomic structure. They had to find an image that was appropriate as well as write a caption and add some clever hashtags. They submitted them today and the results were great!!
Here are a few examples of them...
I am really keen to give some PBL a try this year, so I decided to try to it out with my Year 10s this term. They are a pretty good class with some very strong students but the best part is that a good chunk of them have a real interest in Science. This is also the first time I've taught boys in a while, so I wanted something that was going to appeal to them as some of them aren't as 'into it' as the girls. So... enter our superheroes project.
Here is the project introduction that I created for them...
I'm really excited to see how this project unfolds and will definitely be sharing more about it as we progress.
I'm still working on jazzing up 7 and 9 as we need to meet some outcomes that are on the next assessment task fairly quickly, but I have a few ideas that I'd like to try - I just need to tweak them a little.
Lastly... Year 11... they completed their first formal assessment task in the last week of Term 1, so our first lesson this term involved us going through it. I also asked them to complete a reflection on their preparation, how they feel about their performance and what we could do in the future to improve. Most students took the reflection seriously, however, not all of them which was a bit disappointing. Since that lesson though, I have seen a huge increase in their involvement in class discussions and the effort they are putting in to their work. It is early days, but hopefully it continues!!
It was also nice to read an answer to the question 'How can I help prepare you for the next assessment task' from one student that said 'The way you prepared us for the task was great. I just didn't use it to my advantage and realise this now.' It's always nice to see that the students value the work that you put in and can see that it's a two-way street!
The biggest thing that we noticed about the task was that the students are struggling with meeting the Board of Studies verbs. In order to try to combat this I have created some memes that I'll be printing and displaying in our room to try to get them thinking about them differently. I love creating memes and it really can sometimes be difficult to get the wording right to make sure that the meme you create still follows the same line as the many millions of other memes that are similar online!
So here they are... I used www.memegenerator.net to create these and it is SUPER easy!