Many Modes

void0Contrary to some late night TV advertisements, one size does not fit all. Over the past several years there has been a growing realization in education that each student is different and that each student learns differently. Many in the educational world as a whole are starting to understand that STUDENTS ARE PEOPLE TOO. Just like adults, no two students are the same. Gone are the days (or at least fading are the days) when the teacher stood at the front of the classroom to deliver the untold wisdom residing in their heads. Students, of course, being expected to diligently take notes and ask questions. Not an auditory learner? Too bad, figure it out. Like I said, thankfully those days are fading.

I've loved AP Bio this year because the class has been an ongoing experiment. From the outset I made it very clear that I would be trying a bunch of new things on them. I know that I've had fun because very rarely have two classroom sessions been the same. The students have been good sports about it. They've often rolled with the punches and given me feedback when an activity didn't work so well. What's more, I've had the pleasure of watching their ability to critically think and synthesize information grow by leaps and bounds. They've gotten pretty creative to. Not to mention become independent learners. What more could a teacher ask for.

The reason that I intro this piece in this manner is the environment of my classroom became very real to me as I looked over the submissions for this week's installment of the weekly reporter. Both Justin Quimbo and Asia Johnson mention all of the different activities they adventured through in the past week. So, without further adieu, reflecting on the week of 2/25-3/1, Asia Johnson and Justin Quimbo.

Asia Begins:

This week was our last week before Spring Break!! I was excited and ready for all classes to be over with. Anywho, back to the report, this week in AP Biology was an interesting one. On Monday, we did a mini-debate on the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu virus and we were split and had to take a side on the cause of the virus being either biological or political. My group had the biological point of view and ultimately everyone stayed on their side at the end of the ‘debate’. On Tuesday, we created short stories or dramatical skits to explain Adaptive Immune Response and we also had to link it back to soldiers in war. We also counted our F2 generation of flies and constructed the F3 generation and while doing so, Kristen spilled the flies! I was completely traumatized by that, they were walking on the table and flying around. Oh my! On Wednesday, everyone was so antsy because of STEM presentations for the winners, most of whom were in our class. So we started our day dissecting the many different sections of the Endocrine System video. We then reorganized into Jigsaw groups and taught our fellow peers. We were then given free time to do whatever other work we needed to complete for other classes. On Thursday, we were given the entire class period to work on our posters to help educate the public, meaning educate the schools about Diabetes Melitus. Many of us have close ties to diabetes within our families. On Friday, we completed a case study about the Endocrine System. Friday was pretty simple being that everyone’s minds were already on Spring Break!!

Justin Concludes:

This week in AP Bio, we watched videos about the various ways messages can be sent throughout the body, through the endocrine system. We also learned of its components “in-depth” such as the hypothalamus, pituitary glands, endocrine glands, and hormone regulation. In order for one another to learn this, we each took sections in the Bio book, learned them, and separated into other groups to each share out what we learned. We also did a debate where we split into pairs and were given information do defend our perspective. The debate was based on whether or not the Flu epidemic of 1918 was caused by a mutant strain of influenza that was stronger than ever before, or was the strains deadliness caused by other factors such as the World War, Poverty, and Malnutrition? Later that week, we did diabetes posters in groups where we had to differ Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, their biological differences, the things humans do to lead to each type of diabetes, and the ways people can prevent themselves from ever getting diabetes. We ended the week with a case study that referred to the endocrine system, hormones, the production of TSH and Thyroxin, feedback controls, and a sickness called Graves Disease.

Our fly lab is coming to a close as well. We’ll be presenting our findings after spring break. We were given the choice to either have one person take home the groups’ flies and anesthetize them at home because the eggs haven’t been fully laid yet by the flies, or kill off the parent flies hoping that they’ve already laid all their eggs for the next generation. Personally, our group chose one person to take home the flies, as we didn’t want to take the risk of destroying our study.

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