Category Archives: #edtech #scitech
Working with Eco Club and thinking about the complexities of the interactions, causes, effects and issues we need to tackle, I am often reminded of this Lovelock quote, from a 2014 interview in the Guardian. Perhaps if we can get interdisciplinary teaching and learning right in our schools, we can help students make the connections they need to truly understand the deeper causes of the problems they might need to solve.
For a more detailed post on how we’re trying to tackle IDU’s, please see my blog.
This recent news from Harvard is a perfect fit for the IBBio course, connecting lots of what we have learned in the course. Watch this short TED Talk from Prof. Doug Melton on how they are using stem cells to create new insulin-producing beta cells. Then read this article from the Harvard Gazette on the most recent developments in their work.
Goal: Produce a poster, blog post or short presentation to communicate Melton’s team’s breakthrough, including connections to the IBBio course.
Role: You are science communicators.
Audience: Your peers – high school students and teachers.
Scenario: Stem cells and diabetes are both headline-grabbing stories. As we develop more treatments for diseases using stem cells, the public need to be well informed of the reality of what is happening – and inspired by the future.
Product: Large visual poster, blog (500 words with media) or short presentation (4-5 mins).
- Explain that Type 1 diabetes is “an autoimmune metabolic condition in which the body kills off all the pancreatic beta cells that produce the insulin needed for glucose regulation in the body.” [article, paragraph 14]
- Outline the usual treatment needed for type 1 diabetes.
- Outline the properties of stem cells.
- Explain how stem cells differentiate to become differentiated cells.
- Describe the work of Melton’s team to create beta-cell lines derived from stem-cell lines.
- Outline the proposed treatment for type 1 diabetes through implanting the newly-produced beta-cells.
- Discuss any caveats or limitations to the method.
- Discuss any ethical implications for the use of stem cells in this manner.
- Define any new or technical terms used (or discovered in your research) for the audience.
- Distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Evaluate whether this method would be as effective for type 2 diabetes as for type 1, with reasons.
- This could be used to teach part of the homeostasis topic once students know about stem cells, or as a review tool for later in the course.
- Students should refer to the subject guide to check their use of terminology and to regulate the depth of explanation.
Connecting Type II Diabetes
Here is Doug Melton talking about how we might use hormones to treat Type II diabetes:
Thanks to David Faure for pointing this out.
Have a go at Ecosia, a search engine that donates 80% of its profits to reforestation projects in Brazil. Find out more about how this work on this page, and give it a go!
This song by BioRad is a funny discussion starter on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and biotechnology. For a full lesson plan, with editable slides for students and a complete TED Ed lesson (with quiz), visit the full page.
In this task we ‘crowd-sourced’ definitions and descriptions for a lot of the (lot of) vocabulary we have learned this year. This is to reinforce that Biology is as much a language course as a science course, and that everything is connected.
- Create a google spreadsheet with tabs numbered by subtopics covered
- Assign groups of topics to groups of students, with the simple task:
- First column, keyword, correctly spelled
- Second column: definition (exactly from subject guide if it exists) or clear description
- After groups finish, peer-edit
- Does it make sense? Are there any errors?
- It the definition clear in the ‘wider sense’ of the course?
- Adapt definitions with clarifications, or starters such as ‘process’, ‘structure’, ‘hormone’ etc
In our spreadsheet, we identified 312 terms (and growing) from this year.
In between sessions:
- Check and edit as much as needed/possible
- Import vocab into quizlet to create the set
- Very easy: select columns and paste into the right-hand field
- Make sure ‘tab’ is set, top-left
- Hit ‘import’ if it looks right
- Create quizzes/activities
- Share quizlet codes and spreadsheet URL with students
- Get reviewing!
- Students can review using the Quizlet activities
- Students might use the vocab list to make sure they are meeting markscheme requirements for target language – are they giving complete and correct answers?
- Students can use the vocab as a foundation for concept-maps, model responses etc.
Example (sadly Quizlet doesn’t embed to WordPress.com)
- MrT’s class, Year 1 vocab (student definitions)
If you have any creative – and effective – review methods, let us know in the comments or on Twitter!
Have a go at this – pause at 1:30 and get chatting before moving on! Another great video by Derek Muller (@veritasium), and will be useful in discussions of the scientific method, hypothesis testing and the nature of science.
A no is usually more useful than a yes…
This is big news this week for teachers and students who need media for their online projects. Getty, the giant photo agency, have opened up their library for free use as long as you use their embed tool.
This is timely as we think more carefully about Approaches to Learning in the MYP and DP, in particular Media and Information Literacy clusters and the skills of accessing and appropriately using information from other sources.
Here’s an example:
Quick update to the Socrative Space Race page: some new cards to use with the beta version.
This is my review of John Hattie’s new book, Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn. If you’re interested, head over to my personal blog to read more.
This brief review of John Hattie and Gregory Yates’ Visible Learning & the Science of How we Learn (#HattieVLSL) is written from the multiple perspectives of a science teacher, IB MYP Coordinator and MA student. I have read both Visible Learning and Visible Learning for Teachers, and regularly refer to the learning impacts in my professional discussions and reflections. While reading the book, I started the #HattieVLSL hashtag to try to summarise my learning in 140 characters and to get more people to join in the conversation – more of this below.
EDIT: March 2017
This review was written right after the release of VLSL, in late 2013. Since then, the ideas of ‘know they impact‘ and measurement of learning impacts have really taken off in education, particularly in international schools. Critics of Hattie (largely focused on mathematics or methodology) are also easy to find, though the
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This is posted over from my personal reflections blog, but it is about my current IB Biology class. I love these students – they are can-do, and give really useful feedback.
Today we took the opportunity in the IBBio class to reflect on the unit we have just completed, including the tasks and assessment. As always with CA students, the results were constructive, positive and useful, with a general affirmation of the value of what we are doing as a class. The feedback included our personal GoogleSites project, with most students keen on continuing and feeling it helped them learn and with some interesting alternatives for those that it is not.
This kind of feedback is really useful once the class has settled in. They are open enough to be able to be honest, but it is early enough to change practices where needed. We will make some adjustments, though we are generally on the right track with this group. I’m really looking forward to seeing the process and products of the students who have elected to become science writers…
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