I recently added a product to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. This is only the 4th product I have put out there for purchase. It makes me terribly nervous, and a little excited. There will be more to come 🙂
The latest addition asks students to create an infographic about an invertebrate phylum. The classification system includes eight phyla of invertebrates. This unit allows students to focus on one and then hear about the other seven. What I love about this activity is the inclusion of why these organisms are important. The students have to uncover what the organisms are used for and how they are important to the environment and humans or other organisms.
In this activity, students create an infographic, not just a poster. I love infographics. I think creating an infographic takes considerably more thought and understanding than creating a poster. The creators need to make connections between topics, organize ideas into a coherent theme, and use visuals to assemble all of the pieces into one product. The best way to see the difference is to actually see the difference – look at a poster and infographic side-by-side and compare and contrast them. I do this step in my classroom, too.
After creating the infographic, students share with their classmates thereby exposing each student to all of the invertebrate phyla. The products are then hung on the walls for a while so students have some processing time with the large amount of information. We also spend a little time comparing and contrasting the phyla.
This year, we followed up this activity with an exploration of current research or news articles about environmental problems that are being solved with invertebrates. In small groups, students found a main article to review and a supporting article to verify the results. This was a great activity because it not only reiterated the importance of invertebrates but it also encouraged students to think about the feasibility of the proposed solutions.
Maybe this activity will encourage students to think of new solutions or to evaluate more critically the solutions being proposed. I continue to be hopeful that the generation we are educating today will be prepared to tackle the problems of the future. Maybe I should make that infographic to hang on my classroom wall 😉