I was honored to be chosen by the graduating class of 2021 at my school to give this commencement address. My goal was simple: Celebrate the "...unwanted Hero's Journey" that my students found themselves in and remind them that the have persevered and grown through a moment in history unlike any other students before them. See the video below if you would like to view the speech.
Class: Freshman Biology
Topic: The Cell Cycle
1. Engage (Hero is Called to Adventure)
While entering the Zoom room this video was played on loop. Students then worked to solve this medical case study in randomized Zoom breakout rooms. (correct diagnosis = pancreatic cancer). The goal if this phase was to engage students in the process of cell division and create an information gap about cell division specifics that could be closed later in the learning cycle.
2. Explore (Hero is Challenged)
Solution to case study was revealed using this video. Working individually, with Zoom room open for individual help as needed, students then worked through this POGIL activity on the Cell Cycle recording answers here. The goal of this phase was to provide specifics about cell division to add content and context to the case study. Slowly filling in the information gap.
3. Explain (Hero Meets the Mentor)
Solutions to POGIL activity are provided here. Students engage in informal discussion in randomized Zoom breakout rooms followed by responsive classroom discussion about correct and incorrect answers are provided via whole-class Zoom. The goal of this phase is to "trick" students into engaging in direct instruction guided by their desire to fill the information gap.
4. Extend (Hero is Transformed)
Students are placed into randomized Zoom breakout rooms and instructed to have a conversation based on this prompt without looking online for solutions: "Cancer of the heart tissue is very rare. Why do you think this is?" After returning to whole-class Zoom, this video is pushed out to students in chat to close the new information gap.
5. Evaluate (Hero Returns Home to be Judged)
Students are challenged to create a presentation about a cancer of their choice. The presentation must include reference to, and diagrams of the cell cycle, specifically tumor suppressor and/or oncogene mutations that contribute. Students are also challenged to identify gaps in current treatment and propose their own innovative treatment. The goal of this phase is to force reflection on the content revealed in the learning cycle and promote inductive reasoning about cancer treatment.
Click here to access the second of three recordings for my "Spark Learning" Masterclass. This session explored research and strategies related to student exploration once curiosity has been sparked.
Proud to announce that I will be facilitating a free 3-part "Spark Learning" Masterclass beginning 7/22 at 9am PST / 12pm EST. More info here: http://cue.org/microsoft (search for my name).
Engage Hero is Called
Explore Hero is Challenged
Explain Hero is Mentored
Extend Hero is Transformed
Evaluate Hero is Judged
All lessons based on the 5E Learning Cycle/Hero's Journey overlap shown below: