Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Some Flipping Success!!

Students continue to impress me!

Because of the modified flipped structure of my lessons, I was able to spend a considerable amount of time coaching students in their understanding of the inner workings of the cell.

Students watched vodcasts on organelle structure and function, explored cell membranes, and investigated transport of materials across membranes.

The performance task given to students at the beginning of the unit was:

Science 10IB Cell Transport Assignment

Create a story that outlines the “life” of a newly created protein and its journey out of the cell.  You can use artistic license when showing the relationship the protein has with the cell components, however the story must clearly articulate the following scientific processes.

·         Graphic Novel 
·         Ransom Letter / Police Correspondence
·         Explanation without using the letter “e’
·         Song / Poem / Rap
·         Scientific Explanation with supporting electron micrographs.
·         Format of your choice

  1. DNA produces RNA which communicates with ribosomes. (2)
  2. Ribosomes on the rough ER create the protein. (1)
  3. Protein travels through the smooth ER, where lipids (fats) on the protein are synthesized.  (2)
  4. Protein moves to the Golgi Apparatus. (1)
  5. Golgi Apparatus modifies protein by adding some carbohydrates. (1)
  6. Protein leaves the Golgi in vesicles. (1)
  7. During the journey, oxygen diffuses through the semi-permeable plasma membrane into the cytoplasm. (2)
  8. Glucose enters the cell through facilitated diffusion. (1)
  9. Glucose and O2 combine in the mitochondrion to produce CO2 and water.        CO2 gas diffuses out of the membrane and water leaves by osmosis.(3)
  10. The protein encounters some evil ‘ions’ that have entered through active transport. (1)
  11. The evil ions force the protein to become evil. (1)
  12. Lysosomes bind with the vesicle containing the protein and digest it. (2)
  13. The lysosome binds with the plasma membrane and removes the now evil protein through the process of exocytosis. (2)

Marks:             /20

Take a look at some of the results.  You will be just as amazed as I am!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Flipping the Classroom - Reflection

Teaching is a crazy business. It's pace is frenetic, and the bar is set high.  We, as teachers, have many stakeholders to satisfy - obviously the most important are the students.

So, to hold on to every student and not let one slip through the cracks, I attempted a new strategy.  I flipped my classroom. My intentions were to provide quality instruction at home as a vodcast, and then to navigate through my classroom searching for any misconceptions in learning while students worked through well planned activities.

My experiment lasted three weeks.

I asked the students to watch the vodcasts in advance and then in class we would start with a discussion around the vodcast and the students would break into groups to work on the assigned activity.

The frenetic pace doubled.  Maybe tripled. I was happily involved with student conversation about learning instead of taking the class to deliver instruction.

Students who watched the vodcasts were successful in completing the activity and demonstrating what they knew to me.  It was interesting to listen to their discussion.  This was evidence to me that this strategy was working for them.

Students who didn't watch the vodcast were slowed down considerably.  I had some chromebooks available for students, and they attempted to watch the vodcasts during class time.  But, unfortunately, they began to fall through the cracks as they didn't have sufficient time to engage in the meaningful discussion.  Sigh.

The great idea of flipping requires students to have easy access to computers and free time to watch them before coming to class. The motivated students will watch and continue to excel but the students who lack motivation will experience the same results as before.

So I reverted to the classical method of instruction where I knew all students would receive the information first, and then I assign activities to reinforce learning.  This method limits the richness and quality that I imagined the flip classroom may provide.  Sigh.

As of September of 2014, the Alberta Government has relaxed the number of minutes of instruction that each credit demands.  So our school is experimenting with a 30 minute tutorial time in the morning where students can access help for whatever they need.

I may think of trying the flip again.  Students can use the tutorial time to access the vodcasts if they didn't have access or time to view it. If I can level the technological playing field for all students then I can work hard to co-construct learning through meaningful activities.

Here we go again.