In the Science lesson I taught on 2/19/10, the focus of the lesson was on the process of photosynthesis. I anticipated this being difficult topic because of the terminology (carbon dioxide, oxygen, photosynthesis). I also thought it would be a difficult topic because it was not concrete/tangible. It is very difficult for students to “feel” or “see” the photosynthetic process. In alignment with my plans, I gave students a passage to read about photosynthesis with a partner. We came back whole group to discuss it. After asking questions to guide their comprehension, I observed that some students were not “getting it”. They were able to respond to the questions I asked in a very rote manner, but they lacked a connection to the entire process.
Then, in a split second, it hit me. I knew I needed to find a way to make photosynthesis come alive and that is exactly what I did! I stood up and started acting as if I was a tree. I wiggled my legs, acting like they were roots, pulling up water from the ground and used my arms to pull in carbon dioxide from the air. Then, I had one of the students come up behind me and act like they were giving off oxygen. Next, I had someone come up and poor water on the tree (me). Then, I had students come up in serve as the sugar and sunlight. I made the photosynthetic process come alive! The kids loved it and can tell me not only the components of photosynthesis, but also which student had that role in the reenactment!! The kids truly enjoyed being an active participant in their learning experiences. I think their physical involvement helped them make stronger connections within the concept of photosynthesis.