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Super Science Slueths Explain It All: Circumnavigating the Circulatory System

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Keywords: circulatory system, podcasting, SCIENCE, dissection
Subject(s): Biology, Podcasting, Technology, Health and PE, English/Language Arts, Science
Grades 6 through 8
School: Monticello Middle School, Monticello, IL
Planned By: Jennifer Smith
Original Author: Jennifer Smith, Monticello
The following is an example of how podcasting would enhance an anatomy unit I currently use in the classroom.

1. As an introduction to the circulatory system unit, the students spend time discussing what they know about the circulatory system. These discussions can be recorded and used to create a podcast. At the conclusion of the unit, students can listen to the podcast and evaluate the accuracy of their initial assumptions regarding the topic.

2. After the introductory discussion, I determine the information the students need to have clarified and the information that still needs to be taught.

3. While several experiments are conducted with each unit of study, whole group discussion is the primary vehicle for instruction. These lectures can be recorded as podcasts which would provide absent students with the opportunity to hear classroom lectures or help students study for upcoming tests by listening to the podcasts as a means of reviewing information.

4. While in their lab groups, students will create podcasts of circulatory system related experiments. For instance, students will record the steps of the experiment and take pictures with digital cameras to record the results of each step. During our circulatory system unit students are able to participate in a heart dissection. The steps of the dissection can be photographed and the students can create a podcast detailing the dissection. This podcast can then be used as a learning tool by students who choose not to participate in the dissection. These activities will also afford students the opportunity to learn how to document data and display it for a larger scientific community.

5. The capstone activity for each unit of study in my science courses requires that each student work alone or with a partner to creatively display their knowledge of the recently studied science topic. Students will be asked to create a podcast to share with the class at the conclusion of the unit of study. Students are encouraged to be as creative as possible when producing projects in the form of interviews, dramas, songs, radio shows, etc. Examples of past projects include student created dramas about the life of a drop of blood traveling through circulatory system, a news report detailing the path of blood through the body, and comic book depictions of red blood cells living in the circulatory system.

A. Students select their own topic from the unit which permits students the opportunity to further study information in which they are interested.
B. Students are then given time to research their topic in the library, online, and through professional interviews. Previous podcasts from the unit will be available for students to use as reference material.
C. Students will use the Tool Factory Podcasting Formats worksheet to determine the format that would work best with the scientific topic they have selected.
D. Students will complete the Tool Factory Listener Profile worksheet to help determine the content of their podcast.
E. Students will use Tool Factory Word Processing software to create outlines and type information for their podcasts.
F. Students will use Tool Factory Podcasting software, headsets and microphones, and Olympus Digital Voice Recorders to prepare their podcasts.
G. Students will use digital cameras, scanners, and Tool Factory Clip Art Station to insert sounds and photos into their podcasts. While working on their projects, students will use flash drives to save and transfer their podcast information to different computer stations.
H. Upon completion of the podcasts, students will review and assess each podcast based on a class created rubric, offering suggestions for improvement and praise regarding the final project.
I. After each podcast has been examined, the revised versions will be uploaded to the school webpage and the Tool Factory Web Page Station. Students will then be able to share information not only with their parents and the larger school community but also with their peers in other school districts throughout the state.
Materials: Worksheets, Web Page, Podcasting, Word Processor, Science, Digital Voice Recorders, Digital SLR