As much time as we (teachers) spend looking for ideas, sometimes what we’re looking for is right under our noses! Here’s an example from my classroom….
We cover the environment at the very end of the year in my biology 1 (freshman) class. By this point in the school year, they are DONE with taking notes and listening to me. So I turn my class over to them. Students work in groups of 3 or 4. This year, for the first time, I assigned them to groups. I LOVED IT! They did not. haha! I always thought that they should work with people they get along with and see outside of school so they will get the project done. I put them in groups based on their abilities, not necessarily their grade in my class. And guess what? They complained for about 5 minutes, then got to work. All of them, not just one person per group. And, for the most part, the results were really good.
Anyway, back to the amazing student work I want to share. The assignment was to teach the class about an environmental issue. They had to explain the topic (cause, solution, impact on the US and the world). Then come up with a hands on activity for the rest of the class to do. They also had to build a visual aid that could be displayed to raise awareness on their topic. The picture above is from a group presenting about water pollution. They built a landscape with a hill and building out of a box and foil. They wanted to demonstrate how land pollution (ie. pesticides, oil, garbage) gets into the water. They put different colors of dry jello around the “land” to represent different pollutants, then sprayed the top with “rain” and let it run down the “mountain”. What the students saw was that all the colors ran into the “river” in the middle and mixed together to create dirty water.
Simple. Creative. Students could SEE the problem. Bravo students!