In this lesson, our STEM MimioMaster Meredith Williams shares a common experience for many teachers – starting instruction with one topic but totally switching to another.
My intention was to continue our learning in a unit on cell structure and homeostasis. But as my 6th grade students and I continued the discussion, it turned into one about how and why organisms need to change and adapt to situations and their environments.
So initially, I used the 3D printed skulls from the MyStemKits Hominid Species Kit for each table of students to explore and drive our discussion about how cells need balance and the processes that need to occur for balance to be achieved. But as we discussed, questions lead to more questions, and our conversation transformed into one about organisms we have changed or adapted to achieve our own balance. I let the students examine the skulls and come up with ideas that could have caused the slow progression and change of our species.
By observing and comparing the different skulls, students asked questions and made comments like:
- Why are the eye sockets so much bigger?
- Maybe to see farther for food.
- Maybe to be able to see their predators
- Why is this skull so tiny?
- For their small brains.
- They must not be smart (accompanied by many giggles).
- Why have their eye sockets gotten smaller?
- Their other senses evolved or adapted.
- They didn’t need to necessarily see better.
- Do bigger eye sockets mean better sight?
- (A huge debate ensued between two table groups about this question. Awesome!)
I understand that what our class ended up doing was not the intention of the Hominid Species Kit but it worked great for an impromptu review of the evolution theory and the student conversations were amazing! Yes, we got off topic a bit, but it was an excellent review and a 100% student-led discussion and investigation.
Watch the video to learn more about the Hominids Species Kit.
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