Personal Response Lesson

“Hey cool, it’s a wiimote!”

Task 1: Engage…check.  Yesterday I gave my personal response lesson and this was the typical statement I heard from each class as I handed out the clickers.  I didn’t anticipate this at all, but it was nice because I could tell they were already intrigued.

The lesson was on energy in our environment and my ultimate goal was to get students to understand that our ultimate source of energy comes from the sun, which apparently isn’t really covered in their curriculum.

I setup the lesson by having several prescribed questions and answers about energy (e.g. Which of these activities requires energy? A. Someone sitting and thinking, B. Someone playing basketball, C. Both, D. Neither) and thanks to Sarah S, I also had a practice question at the beginning to help get the students used to using the clickers, which was really useful.

Overall, the personal response system was really cool.  Several of my questions were asked to address misconceptions that I assumed the class would have, and this personal response system certainly confirmed the existence of these misconceptions.  Some of the questions I’d ask twice, where the second time was after the class had a chance to discuss and share what answer they chose and why.  What was really cool was seeing the responses shift from the first to the second answer.  For example, in the question I stated above (which activity requires energy), most of the class thought only basketball required energy.  That then led to a great discussion on how you can tell if something requires energy, which led to a discussion on how our body needs energy to do basically everything, which led to a discussion on why we need to eat, which led to the next question.  I really liked this setup because the students got to do some teaching as well during the short discussions.  I’d call on volunteers that choose a certain answer to explain why they chose their answer, so ultimately, during some of the discussions, I didn’t really do any teaching at all.

Eventually, the last question was about where the ultimate source of energy on earth comes from.  Most of the students thought it was from food, so I had them do an activity where they mapped out the energy in one of their favorite foods.  For example, for pepperoni pizza, they would map out where the energy from the pepperoni, cheese, tomato sauce, and dough came from.  The pepperoni came from a cow, which gets its energy from plants, which get their energy from the sun.  All of the maps ended with the sun, and after asking a second time, most of the class thought the sun was the ultimate source of energy.

Thanks to the personal response system and the discussions that developed from it, this the last question led to one of the coolest questions of the day from a student:

“Where does the sun get its energy from?”


About Emily Beck

I am a PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Kansas and I am studying Tissue Engineering. I am interested in using nanoparticles and natural materials to create scaffolds that can assist in tissue regeneration/repair.
This entry was posted in 2011-2012 GK12, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Personal Response Lesson

  1. I enjoy the clickers. My “gripe” has always been the software issues. The engagement is always increased and I have seen the more advanced clickers that have the numerical buttons plus a yes/no button used in classrooms with great success. I am glad that your experience was a positive one. It is fun to have things go well!

  2. Emily Mangus says:

    I got lucky I suppose because we didn’t have any software issues, other than usually 1-2 students per class always had trouble submitting their responses (this was usually user error and not the software itself). I’m not going to lie though; they got quite rambunctious through using this system because it turned into a competition to see who could submit their answers the fastest. But it was fun and informative, and the students were engaged, so overall I think it went well.

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