Scaffolding in Biology with the Class Cellfie
After so many biology classes, I had begun to realize that it seemed as though I spent a lot of time and energy teaching my kids all about cells, only to have them forget at least half of what they learned by the time we approached cell division, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, etc.
Though all of biology depends on one magical cell (and I told my kids that 10 100 times from the first day of biology to the last...), it was still difficult for many of them to keep this in mind.
Then comes the saying "out of sight, and out mind"- I decided I wasn't going to let that pesky little cell out of their sight! I had an idea, and it ended up being a good one (don't you love when that happens?!)
I devoted a portion of my classroom wall to our class Cellfie. It started off simple at first as we learned each new component or organelle, we'd tack it onto the wall. In its first days your class cellfie will be VERY basic.
The Cellfie grows with your students.
This is YOUR class cellfie. You can be as crafty as you want, and use whichever supplies you desire.
During our cell division unit, we had chromosomes instead of a nucleus, and the centrioles appeared in our animal cell. During our protein synthesis unit, we had a whole lotta mRNA and amino acids. During cell respiration, we had ATP molecules.
You can make it as big or as small as you'd like depending on how much space you have. You can use an old bulletin board with thumbtacks, a whiteboard with magnets, or a felt board with velcro.
My biggest tip is to have students place the items themselves to see how they do and discuss. Have the class work with each other to determine where your next piece will go... If you build your class cellfie as a bellringer activity a couple times each unit as your class learns and the cellfie grows, you will not ever look back!
Teaching plant cells? A ziplock bag for the central vacuole, some green celophane for the cell wall for the win! You might be more ambitious than me and even have a separate cellfie for plant cells!
Love this idea but don't know where to start? The template I use above is available for purchase! The template comes with all the organelles and related processes- even the cell membrane 😉
"Creative, fun and innovative! Great to have a large visual resource in class to add complexity to throughout the year " - Lainey B.