Category Archives: Teaching

Talking about the challenges, joys, failures, and lessons learned from teaching…

Mitosis Mnemonics

Using silly mnemonic devices to remember sequences really works. Typically, the mnemonic is given to the students. Remember Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge?

In order to remember the steps of mitosis in order, I give my students an example of a mnemonic, and then I have them come up with their own. The mnemonics are turned into drawings as a homework assignment. I show them my goofy artwork as inspiration.
Here’s mine: Paul Makes Awesome Tacos.

And, here’s one a student came up with: Pringles Make Amazing Treats.

See how creative your students can be! Feel free to copy my mnemonic onto an overhead for class, or design your own. Keep the really good ones and post them in your classroom or in a hallway display case.

Illustrated Food Poisoning Article

I love to draw in black and white and I find that this desire to scribble on everything is occasionally useful in spicing up reading assignments for my high school students. My co-workers took advantage of my illustrating skills and sometimes gave me assignments with which I would gladly procrastinate. This article was given to me last year with the express instruction to illustrate it and return to sender. I’ve never used it with my kids but it would be useful as a homework assignment or a substitute plan.

If anyone knows the source of this article I will add that information to this sheet and re-upload it.

Download the article.

Animal Museum

Last year, my students amazed me with a wide variety of original “museum exhibits” on different species of animals. I assigned them a species, provided a few days of research in the library and some class time to work on building the exhibits. This project is a unique twist on the typical diorama-type activity. Students then evaluated each others’ projects and made oral presentations to the class.

Project File: includes timeline, guide, rubric, and exhibit day instructions in an editable .pdf format

Student Rubrics: students evaluate their classmates’ projects by using these simple rubrics

Biological Timeline

This is my method of teaching the history of earth by using a timeline that highlights major biological events. It has worked for me in the past and I hope you find it fits into your evolution unit this year.

Read more adaptations and success stories in the forum.

Timeline Setup: Read this first for an introduction to the timeline activity and how it works.

Timeline Display Cards: Cut out and laminate these cards for your timeline.

Timeline Teacher Key: Dates and notes for teaching the timeline.

Timeline Handout for Students: students will cut out and arrange these cards in chronological order.