Sunday, December 2, 2012

1c: Setting Instructional Outcomes with a Kinesthetic Tree Identification Lab

     Often in a high school classroom students are sitting. Six and a half hours of sitting with small 5 minute bursts of exercise to get from class to class. I don't know about you but it makes my rear end hurt just thinking about it. So whatever I can do to get my students up and walking around I do it. It keeps the kinesthetic learners more engaged and the students love interacting with one another. I'm fortunate to teach biology which lends itself to laboratory activities and hands on activities that really get all students engaged. One such lab is The Tree Maze (from the Arbor Day Foundation). Here is a link to the lab:

In the lab it gives you a "walking dichotomous key" which are full sheets of paper that you tape up around the room.

You could bring in tree branches for the students to use but I instead printed and laminated cards with pictures of the leaves, bark, seeds, etc of various trees for the students to identify.

tree information cards
The students work in pairs to identify the tree species. Sometimes they need to make a judgement call, and might need to backtrack if they make an error.

They write down their findings in the log
I find this lab works really well for those kinesthetic learners in class who need to get up and move around.

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