On the day of any summative assessment, I like to take the time to wrap-up my instruction by using an animated interactive power point review. The purpose of the review is to give the students one more look at the content this time at a global perspective so that students can make connections and solidify their understanding.
In this review I am focusing on a few main ideas.
1) The arrow shows the direction of matter and energy flow.
2) Animals use the food to produce energy and build the make-up of their bodies.
3) Changes in the population of one animal or plant can effect the entire chain/web
For me, there are two important parts of the power point. First, I set it up to be interactive with several processing slides within the presentation so that students can hear thoughts from their peers as well as me.
Second, I use animation techniques in the powerpoint to capture student attention, include non-verbal visual cues, and allow for storytelling. Making animated powerpoints can be time consuming and tricky, but I love it and find it well worth the time.
Below are several screenshots of how to do different animations. Once you have the skills, the rest is up to your imagination!
Making basic entrance and exit animations
Using animations to tell a story
Adding in movement lines
I constructed this part of the lesson to (1) give my on-target students a chance to practice with the new information and (2) provide me with time to work with students who need support. First, I read out the names of a group of 5-6 students that I need to work with and ask them to go to the table in the back of my room.
Then, I display a list of animals and plants that we have been organizing into energy diagrams and ask the students to work independently to make a food pyramid. I've been using organisms from the mountain ecosystem because that is close to our home and familiar to kids:
Grass, flowers, raspberry busy, pine tree, squirrel, marmot, pica, deer, moose, bear, hawk, spider, snake, mountain lion, fish, bugs.
The students work to create their own food pyramid in their notebooks. It is easy for me to keep track of the whole class from the back of the room as I work with my small group.
With my small group, I go to the back table and get out the food web and food chain that we have been working with. I ask the students a set of scaffolded questions to help determine what their misconceptions are and how I can help them. Some questions might be;
- Tell me what this picture is showing.
- How do you know?
- What is the arrow showing in this picture?
- What part does the sun play in this picture?
- Where does the mountain lion gets its energy?
- Where does the deer get its energy?
- Where does the grass get its energy?
When I have been able to locate some of the misconceptions and hopefully fix them. I hold up the picture of the food web and ask the students to explain it to me.
- How is this the same as the food chain?
- How is it different?
Then I display a picture of the food pyramid and go through its organization, showing students where the herbivores are, where the carnivores are, and where the producers are. I tell my small group that they are going to be in charge of checking the work of the other students. This is a great way to give students that need scaffolding a respectful task. They needed some support to understand it, but now they are ready to make sure other kids got it right.
I assign each student from my small group to a table in the room. Then I tell all the class that the new student at the table has the key. This becomes very exciting in class. Instead of kids pretending to listen to me as I talk about how they should have done it, they are gathering anxiously around the grader trying to find out if they did it correctly.
I watch carefully while the small group checks the work of the larger group. If they run into trouble I am ready to intervene.
When the checking is done, I ask the students to think and speak about the work. How was making the pyramid different from making the food chain and the food web? What were some of the problems? What are some things the food pyramid shows better than the other energy diagrams? Which do you think tells us the most information and why?