Today I bring you one of my favorite projects of the school year! My Bio 2 classes have our own Nobel Prize ceremony on the last day before Thanksgiving break. Students work in groups of 2 or 3. Each group chooses a different winner of the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine. They research the lives and accomplishments of their chosen scientist(s), complete a research paper. Then the day of our “ceremony” each group gives a brief presentation of their winner(s). They have to be able to describe why they won the prize (which is not always easy, even though I try to pull the tougher to understand ones off the list).
They also must create a 3D model to represent the work of their winner(s). The first year I did this, I graded each model myself (which meant staying late the last day before break). Then I went to a lecture at the ISTA convention about having students grade each others models….. and that’s what I do now. I put a sheet next to each model and each student makes a tally mark next to the score they think it deserves. Then I average the scores for each group, and that’s their grade!I was afraid they would all just give each other 100%, but they actually grade pretty fairly! Of course I tell them that I am the ultimate judge and if they give the model an unfair grade (high or low), I will change it. I also think they try a little harder (well, most kids) when they know they are being graded by their peers.
And of course, since the real Nobel Ceremony is a fancy dinner…. we eat! It’s a good warm-up for Thanksgiving! Each student brings in something. Some get very in to it, one year a girl brought a fully baked lasagna and garlic bread, but usually it’s a smorgasbord of salsa and cookies. And since this is a black-tie event (well, the real one is), I give extra credit to students who dress up. Try it. I get more comments from other teachers and administrators than on any other day. And the more you buy into it, the more the kids enjoy it. I dress up too. I group my desks and put table clothes over them. I make them Nobel Prize medals. It’s a piece of paper stapled to a ribbon. Sounds corny….. they wear them around ALL DAY. And these are high schoolers I am talking about!! It’s hilarious, but again it gives other kids in the school a peek at the cool things we do in Bio 2!
So here are some examples (and the doc with all my info)!
And finally…. here’s the Doc: Nobel Prize Project Enjoy! If you try this out in your class, let me know how it goes!