Well, it has been quite a month since my last post. School started and I got swept up into the whirlwind that is initiating 9th graders into Early College. As of today, we are more than halfway through first quarter, and I think I can finally catch my breath, at least a little bit.
Probably the most exciting part of this month has been giving the unit I wrote this summer a test run. Dr. Roberts helped me launch my DNA unit by coming to give a talk about the research he’s doing right now and how he decides what research is worth doing next. This was a great opening because the next thing my students learned was that, as their project for the unit, they would be taking on the role of researchers and writing mock grant proposals. In other words, they would need to come up with an idea for new, worthwhile, and relevant research about DNA, then plan how that research could be done, and figure out how to convince a grant funding organization to give them money to do it.
It sounded, I am willing to bet, a little bit daunting. Fortunately, the POGIL I had written fit really well into their work. As we bounced back and forth between the two assignments, I heard more and more of my students making reference to what they had learned from the POGIL as they planned their experimental procedures. The final results aren’t in yet, but from my observations, I think my students found the unit challenging but interesting.
Before my internship experience, I really shied away from teaching students about microbiology procedures. I didn’t have a solid understanding of them, and I thought they would be too confusing for my students. Now that I’ve taken the plunge, I’ve learned that teaching the procedures actually may help my students understand the basics.
I’ll report back after I’ve looked at the final products!