In this blog, our content writer Fiona breaks down her process for writing a “student-led” booklet for Ecology and tantalises us with talk of more to come!
Fiona has been teaching for 9 years. She loves finding innovative and exciting ways to engage and inspire students in science, helping them to see the real-world applications of their learning.
How do I find the time?!
Let’s be honest, there are not enough hours in the day or lessons in a week to fit all that AQA biology specification content in all the detail you want to. And no matter how meticulously you plan each lesson into every available opportunity throughout the year, something always comes up to throw you off course, be it a random assembly or a pesky snow day (why does it always snow on Friday afternoon, making you late home that evening and housebound over the weekend? Come Monday morning… oh it’s gone!).
Anyway, I digress, what I really wanted to mention was that we’ve launched our student led learning booklet, which is designed to help you focus your classroom learning time and delegate some of the learning to your students. I was really excited by the challenge of creating this resource. Flipped learning is something I was really keen on using in the secondary classroom.
What’s in the booklet?
The booklet covers the main topics from the AQA biology separate-only content of the specification and includes information on decomposition, environmental impact, pyramids of biomass, trophic levels and methods of food production, accompanied by self-assessment questions for each topic. The questions are designed so that they increase in challenge and difficulty, usually starting with a recall or comprehension style task, leading up to a more in-depth question or task which ask students to explain or evaluate a concept. The question levels are easily identified as they are differentiated explicitly as Bronze, Silver, Gold. You might want students to answer them all, or you can use it to set challenge depending on individual abilities.
Can parents help?
I’ve even included a parent’s guidance sheet so that someone at home can feel confident understanding how to support their children through the booklet. This includes a checklist of the success criteria for each topic covered in the booklet and is thoughtfully contained to just two pages (making it super printer-friendly!).
The booklet could be used as termly homework and you could set a topic to complete each week, marking it using self assessment or peer assessment as a quick starter, or you could give it to students to complete as a more independent project in their own time.
What are people saying about it?
User, Stwpindred has already let us know “This is great,” and challenged us to make more! On our Facebook group, Rosie agrees that the resource “looks great” and Tracy has added that it is a “brilliant idea”.
I love to read your comments and reviews on my resources so please don’t forget to leave a comment when you check it out!
Check out our other Ecology resources: