Saturday, October 22, 2011

BP7-Final Project-RILS

Relevant and Innovative Learning Scenario
Cynthia Madanski and Amanda Rhymer

Brief Overview: As part of the National Science Standards students must learn about the form and function of each organelle in a eukaryotic cell.  This can be a daunting task for students who can’t relate to a “powerhouse” or a “control center.”  Using analogies, a camera and a comic application we can turn this into a fun activity.
  • Cynthia Madanski’s 8th grade students will only focus on the nucleus, cytoplasm, and cell membrane.
  • Amanda Rhymer’s 9th and 10th grade biology students will focus on eight organelles.

1.  Target Audience- Rhymer: 9th & 10th grade biology (60 students) Madanski: 8th grade general science
2.  Materials
1.  Background worksheet: The Cell and the City
2.  Student Worksheet: Cell Analogy: The Cell as a School
3.  Technical Equipment:  Cameras (iPod Touches)
4.  Software:  Comic App (Strip Designer, Comic Life, etc.) and/or Comic-making web programs (Bitstrips, Comeeko, etc.)
3.  Objectives
    a.  The students will be able to explain the structure and function of eukaryotic organelles
    b.  The students will be able to use analogies to understand how cell parts work together
    c.  The students will create a comic strip to illustrate their analogies.
    d.  The students will analyze each others comic strips and evaluate them for accuracy and originality.

1.  Procedure
a.  Complete the Background worksheet (The Cell and the City) as a whole class. Discuss each organelle and how it is “like” a part of the city.  Go over the concept of an analogy and explain how it can vary by student.
b.  Hand out the worksheet (Cell Analogy) to small groups(4) and have the group brainstorm quickly what part of the school each organelle could be “like.” They should fill out the worksheet before moving to the next step by giving the function of each of the eight organelles and describing why they chose the analogy that they wrote down.
(Cynthia Madanski’s class will not focus on 8 organelles, only 3)
c.  Give students a camera, or iPod Touch, and have them quickly go out into the school to take pictures of their “organelles.”
d.  When students return they can either upload their photos onto one computer, visit the computer lab or use the comic app on the iPod Touch to make their photos into comic strips. They should add titles and descriptions to explain their analogies.
e.  Print out the comic strips and share them with the class.  A good follow up activity would be to have the groups swap analogy worksheets and comic strips and have them analyze the final product for creativity, originality and accuracy.
2.  Web 2.0 ToolStrip Designer (iPod/iPhone App) or a comic-strip tool such as Bitstrips that has a free 30-day trial.
3.  Social Participation/Social Learning– This activity requires students to work together to brainstorm the analogy for each of eight organelles.  They must agree on each analogy and record it on their worksheet.  Students will then divide up the organelles (two each) and go out into the school to take pictures.  When they return to class, the group must work together to complete the comic strip, adding titles and captions to explain their analogy.
4.  Making Connections– The scenario must offer opportunities for the learner to connect on different levels. Include the three types of connections below in your plan.  How are the connections being made and how will they help deep learning take place. How will your learner connect with:
a.  Class discussion about the cell-city analogy prior to the assignment.
b.  Relating the function of the organelles to a part of the school that they are familiar with.
c.  Share the finished product with the rest of the class for analysis.
1.  Create/Produce – Comic Strip Analogy: The Cell is Like a School
2.  Assessment –Rubric for the activity:

RubricSuperior (20pts)Good (15pts)Average (10pts)Fair (5pts)
Met RequirementsAll requirements met.One required element missing.Two required elements missingMore than two required elements missing
CreativityProject showed creative choices for all eight cell parts.Project showed creative choices for at least six cell parts.Project showed creative choices for four cell parts.Project showed creative choices for less than four cell parts.
OriginalityFinal project looks completely different from other groups.Final project only has a few elements like the other groups.Final project has many elements in common with the other groups.Final project shows a lack of original thought.
Group GradeGroup divided the tasks and the required work. Every member contributed to the final project.One or two people did not participate in the project letting others do the majority of the work.One person took over the project and completed all of the work on the project.The group fell apart and did not complete the project.

3.  Reflection
a.  Students will fill out a Google form when they finish answering questions about the activity.  They will have the opportunity to identify their favorite parts of the project, as well as those that they didn’t like.
b.  Teachers will reflect on this activity and determine what should be changed for the next implementation.  When I do this project again, I will make them spend more time on their analogies.  They will need to check with other sources, such as their book or the Internet, for the exact function of the organelle that they are working with.

Persuasive Statement:  
Strip Designer was a fun and effective tool for encouraging student collaboration and active learning.


  1. Amanda and Cynthia,

    Your RILS project lesson plan was very detailed and easy to follow. I like how you incorporated the National Standards as part of the overview to prepare the viewer for what will be addressed and what the focus is. I liked the video too and will have to try out Strip Designer and then maybe test it out with my students.

    I would like to offer one suggestion though, with the rubric, maybe you could just do a screenshot of it so that it fits in the parameters of the blog text section.

  2. Wow! this is so inclusive. It is well put together with the outline of the RILS and the video. Both components support each other. On Dara's comments, I am researching some other ways to create rubrics. I know there are several out there at Web 2.0 tools. . .