This is a lesson that we do for our GCSE work on cloning but the same approach could be used for a range of topics in different year groups. It’s a fun combination of problem solving, information gathering and collaborative work. The students enjoy the lesson and once the teacher has put the time into the planning, the lesson itself is all about students working and the teacher enabling!
Desks are arranged to seat four students in every group. Every group of four has the following things on their desk;
– laminated instruction sheet
– Large sugar paper for poster work
– Envelope containing the pieces to four puzzles
– A security badge signed by the teacher
– An A4 sheet of images for use on the poster
– 4 identical worksheets for each student to complete (see below)
The teacher has 8 sets of clues and 8 GCSE textbooks at the front of the class.
The aim of the lesson is for students to gather knowledge about different types of cloning, the issues it raises and the different Christian responses.
To be successful each group must complete 1 poster containing four completed puzzles and their personal opinions on cloning, plus each student must complete the worksheet.
To do the poster students will have to open the envelope and complete the four puzzles that they find inside. They must check that they have completed them correctly by checking against the text book information. Once they are sure that they are correct they can stick each puzzle on to their poster. As you can see below the puzzles we use are four triangles each made up of four smaller triangles which the students have to correctly sort and put together.
Onto the poster the students must add a title, explanations of their own views on cloning and any images from the image sheet that they want to illustrate their work.
The second thing they have to do is fill in the worksheet. However the information that they need to enable them to do this has been stuck on four clones (cardboard people see photo below) and placed in four different places around the school. To gain the information students have to take a typed clue from the teacher about the location of a clone, solve the clue and then go to the clone. Once at the clone the students can take a photo of the info or write it down. Only one student from a group is allowed to go and find each clone and the student who has permission to be out of the room takes their signed security badge with them. On their return the student shares the info with the group and they add it to their individual worksheets. They may then ask the teacher for their next clue. Obviously the teacher does not give every group the same first clue, this avoids every group getting the same information first.
Organisation by the teacher is key. Each table should have a number and each set of clues should have corresponding numbers so the teacher can keep track of which group has had which clues.
This usually takes our classes 40 minutes. The students enjoy this process of gathering the information and they get lots done. We follow this lesson up with a lesson that requires the students to apply what they have found out to some exam tasks. This process of application is important because whilst they have gathered the information they have done nothing to assimilate it in the first lesson.
To add a competitive edge we put the names of the students who complete the work well and with five minutes to spare into a year group RE raffle with Costa vouchers as prizes!