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Showing Joseph Nunn

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6-8 | Science & Tech | Hands on activities

My Classroom Innovation

There is an old saying that “bigger is better.” That saying reinforces the scope of this learning project by allowing my students to create a one-of-a-kind learning tool for other science classes to use and, at the same time, strengthen their own knowledge about key science concepts. In this project, science enrichment students in 7th grade designed, constructed, and showcased a large-scale “inflatable” cell model. Figuratively, students learned about parts and functions of plant cells by being able to crawl inside this classroom-sized model. With learning tied to state standards, this “inflatable” model focused on using plastic sheeting, surplus military parachutes, fans, and materials from area thrift stores to create a large, multi-sensory representation of the internal structures of the cell while allowing students to be immersed in their learning. After my students completed the inflatable construction, other teachers brought their students into the inflatable and used it as a tool in delivering their own instruction. Indeed, my interpretation of innovation is being able to understand what motivates students to learn and developing “outside-of-the-box” lessons that engage that student interest from the start to finish of a project. Teaching with inflatables does that by approaching learning from an "unconventional" perspective.

How Students were Engaged

This was a true science-inquiry lesson with innovative twists. Students became eager as they were told about their role in this “one-of-a-kind” project and further excited when told it would be used as a learning tool for all 7th grade science classes. Following learning about plant cells, they created small models of various internal structures. Designated student teams created large-scale models for placement inside the model. Additionally, students were given the responsibility to construct the large cell structure. Kids loved building this structure. Their project has been reviewed by other teachers and is the current focus of science instructional articles.

PBS Program/Content Used

NOVA "Cracking the Code of Life" program and the "How Cells Divide" PBS website animation.