Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Secret SOLO'ist part 3a....

For those of you new to this series of posts, I have recently taken more of an interest in SOLO taxonomy since becoming part of the Twitter community.  It was something that I read about a while ago in Geoff Petty’s Evidence Based Teaching but have only recently felt ready to develop this element of my teaching further.  I plan to launch it fully with students in September, but in the meantime I am going on a secret trial to test out the structure and activities, all of the time evaluating the impact and effectiveness.

On my third attempt, I decided I was going to try using the SOLO structure all of the way through and even try one of the HOT maps which I had seen on Pam Hooks website.  I have used many of these before during the Year 9 L2L lessons I run, but thought I’d try it as part of SOLO’s structure. 
The lessons I chose were two from our Year 10 Physiology unit.  The topic was the Respiratory system, focusing specifically on the aerobic and anaerobic system.  Typically in the past, many students find these a little confusing as there are a number of similarities yet some very significant differences.
I started off looking at the aerobic system and as usual started with a ‘Pre-topic task’ to see what level they were coming in at.  Many students knew nothing about the aerobic system (pre-structural) where as some students knew a few facts that they had heard in Biology (multi-structural).  This was really important for me as it would allow the students, and me, to see the massive levels of progression that I was hoping they would make (hoping!!).
I then began teaching all of the relevant subject information using a variety of independent learning and direct instruction tasks.  Table teams had a variety of resources and pooled together their knowledge of the system.  From all of the information they gathered, I even asked them to rank order the facts they found out in order of importance and highlight any particular components of the system that they were amazed by.  This was developing their multi-structural understanding.

One of the Multi-Structural task where they had to independently
 reseach key principles from the Aerobic Respiration system.
We then started looking at how all of these aerobic respiration components linked together, specifically focusing on how they react to exercise.  From the information they had, they went about mapping these components in relation to an athlete (Mo Farah) on a stimulus sheet.  They had to include a number of keywords that I had listed.  They also had to highlight when components linked together and put a brief explanation stating how they linked.  I was now moving them into Relational. 

Here they began to link the many components of the Aerobic system
together and bring in how it changes when exercising.

Finally, because the aerobic respiration ties into many of the other body systems (circulatory, muscular etc), they then had to link this system to them as well.  Again I gave them keywords to include and asked them to highlight these extended links and connections (Beginning to move towards the top end of Relational).  Many students were really beginning to develop and map out a cycle that included all the physiological systems from circulatory to skeletal, specifically identifying how they adapt or work when involved in physical activity.  I’ve never had a group do this so clearly before!

Finally getting them to link ALL physiological systems together.

One of the pieces of work from a LA student
I finished the first part of this two part lesson with a curiosity question (related to the other respiratory system we teach, the anaerobic system) to get them to see we weren’t finished and in fact, this is part of a much bigger topic.

Lesson 2 which focused on the Anaerobic system and included HOT maps is on it's way!!

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