Category Archives: General

Thinking about topic order

If we think about teaching High school biology courses (or any other sequential concept/content based course)  we often have to think hard about the logic of the order we start our course topics. Cells or molecular biology?

In our IB course documents Cell Biology comes first. However a consensus among my colleagues has been Molecular Biology should be  first. This allows us to then introduce cell processes with much more coherence and understanding. This order is also claimed to reinforce the learning about molecular levels of explanation. Two influences Inspired me to try out a new way of bridging these topics from student prior learning.  I have found that these have been covered in our MYP course and new students have nearly always studied them. Recent training in Let’s think in English I was part of and the ideas Deanna Kuhn developed in Education for thinking.  She writes about how new learning must be coordinated with existing theories about the world that students have developed. To do this they must become aware of exactly what it is that they are thinking. I was very interested to know what exactly their thinking was so I devised a thinking lesson plan instead of a traditional review lesson.

The lesson plan is here. I think the methodology can be widely applied. Give it a try or adapt for your own use and tell us about it.