Teacher: Chad Devoe

School: Groton Middle School
Grade: 7th Grade
Topic: Human Anatomy
Thinking skills explicitly taught: S, R
Duration: 1 Hour
Challenge: Understand relationships between and among human anatomical systems (respiratory, muscular)
Executive Summary:
Students in this 7th grade Life Sciences class are learning about Human Anatomy. After studying about the different systems in the body last week, the teacher noticed that the students could easily describe each in isolation. They struggled, however, to find connections among these systems. To help students think about these complex relationships, the teacher assigned each group a system of the human body. Students constructed this system using a list of vocabulary words, their science textbook, and ThinkBlocks.The teacher used Guiding Questions to probe students' construction of ideas. When Steven was asked "How are the diaphram and lungs related?" he initially struggled to find an answer. But by answering the Guiding Questions, Steven revised his mental model. Instead of lumping all of the parts together, his group arranged them in a linear order.
As groups completed their models, four groups combined to two. They examined the relationship between the respiratory and circulatory systems and the relationship between the muscular and skeletal systems.Next, the two groups brought their models together. Students talked about the many relationships among all of the systems in the body. The teacher extended their learning by challenging students to look at this system from an oxygen molecule's perspective. This hands-on and open-ended approach was a great alternative to traditional worksheets. As students built their ideas, the teacher assessed their learning through dynamic conversation and observing their constructions of knowledge. With the Patterns of Thinking infused in this lesson, students gained a deeper understanding of Human Anatomy and learned lifelong thinking skills.