Sixth grade students in John Glenn Middle School are now learning about bacteria and identifying structures of prokaryotic cells in science classes with Ms. Coletta and Ms. McCarthy. During these student centered lessons, our 6th graders are engaged in five different learning activities arranged into stations. These hands-on stations are part of the biology unit of the science curriculum as students explore the essential question: What is life?
The first station involved students looking at prepared slides of bacteria using the microscopes. Before using the microscopes to identify structures in bacteria, students first practiced learning how to use the microscopes correctly. The purpose of this station was to continue to develop these skills independently while also giving students the chance to see actual bacteria cells. This allowed students to get a better idea of the size and number of cells in a small space. Using these microscopes, students created illustrations as they diagramed the various structures observed.
The second station was a large printout of a typical cell and a set of laminated labels that the students had to place on the cell and then check themselves as compared to a key. This center was more of a hands on collaborative approach to labeling a cell and knowing the correct parts and students worked as a team.
The third station was a laptop game where they had to correctly match the cell part with the function in order to make a bacterium move. The goal here is a different approach (and more fun) way to continue to develop their knowledge of the various parts of the cell. As they got better they are able to do this faster.
The fourth station was creating a physical model of a cell based on the materials available and then drawing and labeling their models. Models are often used in science and it is important that they understand the importance of models as well as their potential faults. Finally, students used a CDC app where the students read several clues about illness that were spreading through a population in an attempt to figure out what bacterium was causing the outbreak, how it was spreading, and how to stop the spread. Additionally learning activities included readings about bacteria.
Mr. Kevin Tracey