Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications
April 4th, 2022 by Luann

Learning Anatomy through Collaboration, Part 4

Using what we learned (see Parts 1, 2, and 3, linked below) we connected the skeletal system, the muscular system, and the nervous system. Students chose a scenario involving the nervous system and prepared a 5-6 minute presentation describing the path a nerve impulse takes, starting (or ending) with a nerve impulse and ending (starting) with an action.  The scenario focused on the muscles and also included the role of the skeletal and muscular systems, including tendons and ligaments.Some students chose the same scenario they used in Part 2 – muscles, and added the nervous system.

Students were encouraged to choose any appropriate format to present their work, including but not limited to, a slide show, video, illustrations, graphics, a poster, or any other format they chose and discussed with me before proceeding. They presented their work to a small group.  The presentations were also linked to a Google doc that was shared with other students.  Students reviewed the work of 3 other students. Reviewers did not assign any type of score to other students’ presentations. This is was individual assignment, although students were encouraged to discuss their work and progress with others as they found helpful.  All their materials had to be readily accessed by anyone else in the class.

Here’s how students shared their work, from the Student Directions:

  • Place all materials in a new folder named Nervous System Assessment within your @Anatomy folder.Be sure the folder sharing is set so anyone within our school can view.
  • Add a document named Nervous System Collaboration – Lastname to the folder.
    • Write an “Explain to Me Like I’m 5” paragraph describing your project.
    • Ask for specific feedback on any part of your project.
    • Make this doc editable by anyone in our school.

Before leaving comments, we discussed how to best give helpful feedback. We listed some sentence starters:

  • I really liked…
  • ______ helped me understand _______
  • I have a question about….
  • I’d like to see more……
  • What I need to see to be more convinced is….

I wish I could share example projects, but they all had so much identifying info that I can’t do that. I can share links to the assignment docs.  Here they are:

The first 3 parts of this Learning Anatomy through Collaboration adventure:

February 5th, 2022 by Luann

Learning Anatomy Through Collaboration, Part 3

Learning about the nervous system in an anatomy class is daunting due to the number of terms that describe the nervous system.

nervous system collaboration

Student Concept Map Draft – Human Nervous System by Collaboration


Memorization without understanding, connecting, or applying learning is a popular way for students to score enough points to get that grade of A (my district does not embrace standards-based grading.) Students have spent the past 12 years learning to play the game.

We have also been physically distanced from our students, and they from one another, far too much over the past 2 years. My reaction to this situation has been to foster a safe and supportive classroom environment for students to re-learn and stretch their collaborative skills. In this environment, when we give students strategies to process content in ways that leads them to deeper understanding, they share and discuss and problem-solve and learn from one another. Most importantly, they connect and transfer their learning using strategies that build the habits supporting life-long learning.

Here’s how that’s working in our Anatomy and Physiology class Nervous System unit, so far.  (Bonus chicken, because they could.)

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January 15th, 2022 by Luann

Learning Anatomy through Collaboration, Part 2

Body With Muscles, anterior side

Students created life-size body drawings and added muscles.

Four of our 14 anatomy students plan a health-related career.

Another student plans to study forensics.

The remaining 9 have no concrete plans for what they will do in 5 months, after graduation.

We needed a helpful way to learn about muscles. Sure, we could use drawings and label them after a lecture, and memorize names, origins, insertions, actions, and innervation, quiz one another and then take quizzes and get grades.


Instead, we used our life-size human drawings to learn about muscles.

Our learning progressed like this:

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September 6th, 2021 by Luann

Learning Anatomy through Collaboration, Part 1

We’ve been away from one another for far too long.

Talking over Zoom, email, feedback and peer edits on documents and drawings can only go so far.

Mink Intestines in Anatomy

Mink dissection – look at those intestines!

Most of the students in this Anatomy and Physiology class in our small rural school have been together for years, some since kindergarten. Some are related; in fact, this class of 14 students has two sets of twins.

To begin the year, we use the classic “Draw Yourself” lab, in which students pair up and one student traces the body outline of the second student on a large piece of posted paper. Students then label regions of the body, quadrants of the abdomen, and directional terms used for describing the body – anterior, posterior, dorsal, ventral, sagittal, for example.

The benefits of this work, as opposed to me lecturing and students memorizing:

  1. Students get acquainted, or re-acquainted, with one another.
  2. Students are actively working, that is, moving around and acquiring a kinesthetic introduction of the human body and the terms they will be using all year.
  3. While working on their creation, students see the terms in print, read the terms aloud, hear others say the terms, and write the terms. Over, and over.
  4. Students visit other groups to ask questions, give suggestions, and get ideas for their own work.
  5. And, importantly, students learn how others learn.

We will use these large paper bodies over and over, throughout the year.  Stay tuned.

May 8th, 2021 by Luann

End of Year Science Scavenger Hunts

A few decades ago, I wrote a scavenger hunt for my AP Chem students to do After The Test.                                                                                                      It’s gone through many iterations, and has been modified for a general chemistry class. A Biology version soon followed. It’s a great end-of-the-year activity as students must apply what they’ve learned all year and make connections among several concepts. The hunt can be done as an out of class assignment, or time in class can be given for students to plan the items they will use and write the index cards. I’ve had students work alone, in pairs, and in groups or 3.

Here’s how it works:

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May 11th, 2020 by Luann

Everything’s Changed

Three months ago, we went to school every day, concerned mostly about whether our shoes were cute and comfortable, our activities were engaging, and the copier and other technology were working.

Then, everything changed.

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April 19th, 2020 by Luann

COVID-19 Data Sites

I’m making no claims or assumptions of the validity of any of these sites. I’m watching all of them with interest. As with any graph, don’t be fooled by flashy lines until you look closely at the labels and values on the axes.

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April 3rd, 2020 by Luann

Document Handling from a Phone or Chromebook

Some online platforms have built-in submission options for students and that’s nice. I prefer students to simply organize their coursework in a Google Drive folder as I wrote about in this post. Still, sometimes a student needs to post a picture or scan of some handwritten work. The best strategies I’ve found for doing so are listed below and are working well for my students.

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March 24th, 2020 by Luann

Collecting Student Work in Google Drive – KISS

Many of my colleagues ask students to just share their work. Disadvantage: Their email inbox is a disaster. A paraeducator or intervention specialist does not have easy access to their work. And a conventional LMS entails a lot of clicking to find anything.

So. Much Clicking.

Edit 8.19.2020

The past few days, I shared this with my colleagues at our tech learning days. As they worked through Classroom, they had many questions, namely:

  1.  How do I view student work in progress in Classroom?
  2. What if students make a doc, slideshow, or sheet that was NOT shared with them via Classroom?

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August 5th, 2019 by Luann

Projecting from a Tablet, specifically an iPad

I’ve seen many questions on various social media outlets lately, about using a tablet to project in the classroom. Here’s how I do it. With this setup, there is no need to “control” the computer as all files are accessed through the tablet. If you want to “control” the computer, I suggest Doceri instead of Notability. The Remote Mouse app also works nicely, but you can’t write on your files with it.

You need:

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