Today our guide is Mary Lightbody, a professor who teachers preservice teachers. In What’s So Special About Plants? Inquiry in the Classroom, Lightbody describes how she teaches an introductory unit about plants using the 5E Learning Model we learned about earlier this year.
Lightbody (2011) explains how she plans for each phase of the model and how she guides students through each exercise. Her examples, support materials and references are excellent. If you get her article, here is what you’ll be adding to your Teaching Toolbox:
- Instruction about how to use concept maps to understand what students already know about plants.
- Instruction about how to identify students’ misconceptions about plants.
- Insight into how to lead students through an observation activity that engages students through drawing.
- Insight into how to help students explore differences and similarities between plants through writing.
- An activity to help you verify the existence of cells that convert sunlight into food for growth.
- Insight into how to evaluate student understanding and how to create opportunities for continued learning.
What I like best about Lightbody (2011) is that it provides a structured and easy-to-replicate approach to learning a biological process (photosynthesis) that is not easy to observe, much less understand. The introductory lesson Lightbody (2011) so clearly describes complements Max Axiom’s explanation of photosynthesis very well.
What’s So Special About Plants? can be purchased online from the National Science Teachers Association for 99¢.
Lightbody, Mary. 2011. What’s so special about plants? Inquiry in the classroom. Science Scope. 34(8): 50-55