Giselle Jorge

Don’t Just Talk Biology…Be Biology!

A high school student reflects . . .    

“Opposites attract….water molecules are sticky.” What is this teacher talking about? Relationships in high school…glue??? I had learned and felt I had mastered the concepts of bonding back in middle school. That teacher made it simple enough; covalent bonds share electrons and ionic bonds transfer electrons. But now Miss is referring to another type of bond, an intermolecular kind. How does that work? How can that be? I was very confused until she had us get up out of our chairs and walk around representing electrons.

“Chambers of the heart…valves….blood vessels.” What craziness is Miss saying now, a house??? I was getting so bogged down and dizzy by all the terms that I could not begin to wrap my mind around concepts like the two types of circulation or gas exchange until Miss had us again get up out of our chairs and walk around pretending to be a red blood cell.

A high school teacher reflects . . .

Kinesthetic activities, when I have encouraged students to participate in a lesson by moving their bodies, have proven useful in explaining some of the complex topics in my biology class. For the most part, after introducing lessons particularly those that deal with biological processes and involve multiple steps, students achieve a better understanding if they become part of the action. Students feel less intimidated by the plethora of scientific terminology that they are learning, allowing them to sort through information, scaffold concepts learned, and clear misconceptions as they communicate with me and each other. During these times, I undoubtedly hear not just one aha, but several ahas throughout the day. And that makes a world of difference!

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