Sunday, May 10, 2015

Human Body Review - Concept Mapping

The Human Body science unit. You either love it or hate it, right? And sometimes it is very day by day.

Digestive system? LOVE it. Circulatory system? EH. Reproductive system? Well....

But no matter what, a Human Body unit seems to be a staple of most 5th grade classrooms these days. Our classroom is no exception. We have been studying the human body for several weeks now, taking time to learn as much as we could about each one.

We researched. And made models. And participated in simulations. For each system.

Here is a snapshot of what that looked like:

And then it was time for the dreaded assessment. Even though I knew they were prepared, I figured it might ease their minds to have a review.  I thought all weekend about how I would like them to review for their test. Since the learning targets for this unit were all about how the body systems interact I thought that a concept map would be the perfect tool to review.

This wasn't something I had used with them before (I'm in a try-something-new-every-day phase) so I looked for a few resources to help me introduce the idea to my class. After googling around a bit, I found this video on the BrainPop website.

We watched the video to familiarize ourselves with the idea of concept mapping. It has a great example and they do have an online tool that students can use, if you have the technology in your room! Unfortunately, we didn't have any access to tech that day, so we used pencil and paper and it worked out just fine.

Before they started mapping their human body concepts, we made one together and practiced linking the ideas. That seemed to be the hardest part - figuring out which ideas went together. But, as the video said, linking the ideas turns the "information into knowledge!" Once they had the hang of it, they started making their Human Body Concept Maps.

Boy, was I impressed!

I had them start off by writing down whatever they could from memory. Turns out - they remembered a lot!

Then, they could use their notes from our several weeks of learning. (This was a bummer for a few people who didn't think that when I said, "Make sure to take notes as you research," that it applied to them.) But for those who had their notes, it was amazing! They were able to fill in the blanks on some things they had forgotten and it helped quite a few of them makes those tricky links that they weren't sure about.

They worked for quite awhile and did an amazing job connecting all their information and turning it into knowledge. It was a great way to review for the assessment!

How do you like to review concepts before a big test? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments!