Sunday, November 16, 2008

Teaching the Organelles

This past Thursday, I tried two new activities as I taught the entire class for the first time this semester.

But first:
At the beginning of every class, the students typically have a journal question. On that day I asked each student to write down something related to biology, health, disease, or living things that they had a question about. I plan on answering 1-2 of these every time I come into class now, and may try to integrate my answers with the material they are covering at the moment. I have read their questions, and there are some really interesting ones (more on that in some other post).

On to teaching:
While preparing to teach the organelles, I was thinking about my Cell biology course during my undergraduate. It was during that class that I first enjoyed really learning about cell biology. I was going to try to replicate their teaching style - no powerpoint, no artificial figures, all chalk and chalk board, hand drawn pictures, and very straight talk. The more I thought about this method of teaching I though it may work very well because this is a completely different style of teaching than Ms. Papke. I knew I couldn't just talk to them though, and it would be better to integrate the class. I ended up teaching an activity where the students would tell me all of the rooms, components, and/or functions of a house and I wrote these on the board. Then we went through the list comparing each room or function to an organelle and its specific function in the cell. In general, I think the activity worked very well - some organelles worked much better than others. The second half of the class we watched the video, "The inner life of the cell" and I walked the students through certain organelles and processes within the cell. The students who were paying attention to the video got a lot out of it - I heard many students asking, " Is this happening in us? Right now? all the time?" Overall, I think the combination of board teaching and technology seemed to work very well.

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