more on active learning in the biology classroom

This is a piece I first wrote for Talkingteaching 🙂

Yesterday I was up in Auckland at Scicon (the national secondary science teachers’ conference. There’ve been some great presentations, including a lovely on on bioluminescence by fellow sciblogger Siouxsie Wiles (did you know that our very own NZ glow worms mate for hours & then die of exhaustion? Or that 4500 people die of tuberculosis every day? Yes, there really is a link to bioluminescence there.). I gave mine in the morning & could then focus on enjoying everything else that’s going on.

My talk was about the ‘flip teaching’ idea that I was introduced to by Kevin Gould, which I’ve written about previously. Actually it wasn’t really a talk, as I simply gave a bit of background & a summary of some of the recent research, & then asked participants to do the activity themselves. At which point everyone got involved & the chatter started – it was hard to get them to stop at the end! But we managed a show-&-tell & some great discussion before our time was up.

One of the things people really picked up on was something I really hadn’t thought much about: using it to underpin development of students’ writing skills. That’s in addition to conceptualising, discussing, & drawing their organism: there are also things like annotating that diagram, & writing descriptive paragraphs about the various ideas they’ve used. Really integrated learning!


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