Friday, 2 October 2015

Creating Student-Centred Lessons in Grade 11 Biology

In June, the Biology team met in order to create a personalized, blended approach for the Grade 11 Biology (SBI3U) course.

We began by developing a structured learning cycle for each daily lesson:

  • Each lesson begins with a question of the day. This is meant to engage students and to develop their thinking and inquiry skills.
  • Next, students complete an exploration of the lesson concepts. This is an opportunity for students to show their understanding.
  • Finally, students complete an exit card to test their understanding of the subject matter.

By creating a predictable, student-centered lesson structure, we have been able to re-evaluate the focus of our lessons. Students can refine their critical thinking skills and lines of questioning while building a deep understanding of course concepts.

The learning cycle encourages students to engage, reflect, and explore course concepts rather than simply memorizing important pieces of information.

Making Connections Through Outdoor Education

Grade 11 Regional Geography
Grade 11 Regional Geography students built
connections between their fall Outdoor Education
experience and the classroom by exploring
a West Coast ecosystem.
This year, we had the opportunity to build more explicit connections to the Grade 11 Outdoor Education experience in British Columbia. After immersing themselves in one of the ecosystems of the West Coast, Grade 11 Biology students came back to the classroom and applied their experiences to the first unit of the course (the Diversity unit), which focuses on West Coast ecology.
This revised approach to the Biology curriculum would not have been possible without dedicated time to focus on an entire course. The week in the Summer Institute allowed us to collaborate, explore resources in depth, and debate the value of different learning activities, choosing those that will best meet our students’ needs.

Having this opportunity has allowed us to ensure each lesson is focused on student engagement and will support the development of investigation skills that are essential for students to be successful beyond Greenwood.

Nancy Clarke and Vanessa Floras
Science Teachers

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