Lesson planner

22nd May 2015 at 01:00
Your weekly collection of inspirational lessons, imaginative resources and newly released books

Secondary biology

A health lesson that's skin deep

My students enjoy genetics and are fascinated to learn why everyone looks the way they do. But unfortunately, not all genetic traits are positive. This lesson focuses on malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer and one in which heredity plays a significant role.

Students start by researching early warning signs, which include asymmetrical moles or spots. Next, they explore the causes of the cancer, how it presents and treatment options.

The students role play as patient and doctor. The patient lists their symptoms and the doctor uses everything they've discovered to make a diagnosis.

Students not only learn about genetics and cancer but also how to detect a potentially life-threatening problem.

Seth Robey is a science teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School in Illinois, US

Primary Literacy

Create a trailer to set the scene for reading

We were about to start reading Nina Bawden's novel Carrie's War, but before we began I got the class to discuss where they might find clues about the plot, such as the book's cover images and blurb. They analysed these clues and then wrote a brief synopsis of what they believed the storyline would be.

Then the fun really began: after a short demonstration of how to use iMovie, I asked each pupil to make a film trailer of the book based on their synopsis.

The children really got into the task, and several took on the role of iMovie expert, offering advice to the other pupils.

We ended the lesson with each group sharing their trailers and discussing what worked well and what could be improved. This was really interesting to observe, as the feedback given was relevant and useful.

Sarah Williams is a primary teacher in Durham

Primary PSHE

Show pupils they are all of a kind

This activity works well if there are tensions between pupils in your class.

I begin by discussing what qualities we look for in friends, such as kindness and sharing. I then set up an "Acts of Random Kindness" board, explaining that I will write a child's name on it if another child "reports" them for kindness.

Next, I seat a student in the centre of a circle and explain that everybody has positive qualities. Each person then has to say one thing they like or admire about the pupil.

This exercise, repeated in PSHE until each pupil has had a turn, only takes 10 minutes once the class gets the hang of it, and it can reap huge benefits. The children gradually learn that you are interested in hearing the positive, not the negative, and that others will like them more because of it.

Deborah Jenkins is a primary teacher in Twickenham

To access resources for all three lessons, visit: bit.lyLessonPlanner22May

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