Today was all about reviewing for an upcoming test on the cardiopulmonary, circulatory, and lymphatic systems. The students created a nine block grid, then filled in the first three spaces with a fact from the unit (in sentence form). Next, they circulated around the classroom and filled in the remaining six spaces with six facts from their classmates. Each fact had to be correct and had to come from a different person. They each wrote all of the facts in their own notebook and the person who gave the fact initialed the box. This was an interesting was to get the students to review. While some of the facts seemed to show up repeatedly, like “Red blood cells carry oxygen,” there were also plenty that weren’t duplicates. It was a good way to see what students thought was important from the unit and to check for misconceptions, too. I did end up working with a few students who were having trouble writing in their three facts. For most of them, they were having some problems with the directions more than anything else. If I asked them, “What can you tell me about the circulatory system?” most of them had an answer. Those that couldn’t answer that could give me an answer if I asked, “What can you tell me about blood cells?” Once they told me something about the circulatory system (or blood cells), I said, “Perfect! That’s all you have to write!” and away they went. There was one student that had a few issues, but those were partially to a particularly unhelpful lab group. Instead of paying attention to their own work, they were making fun of this student’s spelling. I think that perhaps if this student was left to his/her own devices and given a little more time he/she would have produced slightly more coherent facts. I think group work can be incredibly beneficial, but this is one of the tricky points – How do you give everyone enough time to complete the task, but not so much time that they get bored and disruptive? Also, what is the best way to make sure the group members are supportive, rather than unhelpful or even overbearing?
We finished the day with Mr. Macha using a tube to inflate some pig lungs. Some of the students thought it was gross, but I think most of them also thought it was pretty cool. Several were amazed at how big our lungs get when they fill with air and we took a few minutes to talk about the structures that help us do this (muscles between the ribs lift the ribs, the diaphragm constricts and creates more space). It was a great way to wrap up the unit.