Science 9 – The classes today did a lot of seatwork / textbook questions. I looked around for different activities for modeling meiosis, and found a few. And wow! where the models difficult to follow. They made sense, but they also typically took about 20 steps of cutting, joining and mixing various pieces of strings and pipe cleaners. So I had my classes use the textbook to compare meiosis with mitosis, and even this got confusing for the students.
Leading up to this lesson I spoke with teachers that do Science 10 and Biology 11/12. It became very clear and evident that whatever processes that are memorized in grade 9 science, they are long forgotten by the following year. This revelation emphasized to me the importance of focusing on the Big Ideas in meiosis: meiosis allows for genetic variation, and the resulting chromosomal differences between meiosis and mitosis.
While the seatwork would have been somewhat boring, it did give me a chance to go to almost every student and ask them to tell me about the first two Big Ideas. In my mind, this was a fantastic way to implement formative assessment. The desired outcome is clear, and each student is given a chance to demonstrate what they know and get timely feedback. It wasn’t a perfect process, as I didn’t get to speak with every student.