It is that time of the school year again - revision for the seniors. I don't know why I try to be so "clever" with revision sometimes; the simple ideas work so well.
Today, we were revising the links between the "big ideas" in Genetic Variation. Basically, my students struggle with the links between the key terms: chromosomes, DNA, genes, nucleotides, bases etc.
This is an old one, but keeps proving to be successful (and the students stay focused!). I work with five groups of 5-6 students in each for this activity.
- Every group is given a key concept to describe, ideally using labelled diagrams. They do not know which concepts are being done the other groups.
- After 10 minutes of discussing their given concept, every member of the group must have a copy of the group's work (even if it is a photocopy).
- Then the groups are mixed up so there is at least one person in each group from the original groups. They work together to create a single summary which shows the link between all of the key concepts.
In this lesson, I taught for less than two minutes (!!!), yet every student was engaged and refining their understanding of these key concepts. Some of the summary sheets were absolutely brilliant!
I asked the students to put an anonymous mark on the board during the lesson on a "Lesson Appreciation Continuum"; did they find the lesson "Very Useful" or "A Total Waste of Time" or somewhere in between? Overwhelmingly, the response was "Very Useful"; the students actually ran out of space to put a mark at that end of the board!
Interestingly, there was a real buzz in the room today; the students were having fun doing revision, believe it or not!