Learning biochemical pathways
Learning the ins and outs of biochemical pathways can be murder for students
who are accustomed to just memorizing and regurgitating information on a test.
I've found that explanations only go so far and that students must work it through
in their own way. This can also be done as a study skills activity.
Lesson: Photosynthesis and Cell respiration (also suitable for molecular
biology i.e. protein synthesis and DNA duplication)
Grade level 9-12 Subject: Biology Time length: 1-2 class periods
The student will read a portion of the text or other suitable material
dealing with a biochemical pathway. In groups of 4-5 students they will draw
individual diagrams of what they think that passage is saying. Then the
members of the group will pool their resources and make a diagram for the
whole group. One member of each group presents and explains their diagram to
the class. The diagrams don't have to be "scientific" or just like the book but can
be as creative as they wish using colored pencils or crayons.
Asessment: At the end of the activity the students should be able to use their
diagram to A) teach the pathway to someone else, or B) answer a higher order
critical thinking question about it. Hopefully the students will pick up on
subtleties other groups found but they didn't and incorporate them into their own
Learning Climate/Environment: Regular classroom environment
Equipment and material: 8 1/2 by 11 blank sheets per student, colored pencils
Grouping: Four to five students per group