A lesson designed by Sarah Carlson:
(Synopsis of a biology lesson plan by Sarah Carlson, science teacher
at Asa Mercer Middle School, Seattle, which will appear in longer form
in the forthcoming The Private Eye Companion, to be published by The
Private Eye Project.)
Using The Private Eye, students go on a clue-gathering
mission inside a variety of cut flowers to discover how flower forms
differ, how they are the same, and how these forms help flowers reproduce.
Students begin by making easy "books" to focus attention and document
the process, then move into hypothesizing form-function relationships
in flower structures. Students play a FormFollowsFunction "What's
It?" Game along the way.
1) Each student folds a piece of heavy, white
8.5 X 11" paper
in half on the short axis, traces the edge of a petri dish for a frame
on the book's front cover, loupe-studies his/her particular flower's
stamens and pistil carefully, and completes a loupe-drawing of stamens
and pistil, filling the frame. (Double click on a student book to toggle
between cover and inside page.)
2) On the inside "pages" students title one section: Stamen;
another section: Pistil, and use The Private Eye questions ("What
else does the pistil remind me of? the stamen? what else? what else?
what else?") - to create a list of five comparisons for the male,
and five for the female parts. Students couple each analogy with a "because" statement.
(Note: the students' analogies will be in the form of metaphors and
similes.) This process articulates the characteristics of the flower's
reproductive parts and simultaneously provides clues to how the parts
(the forms) might function. (See the CSTA Journal reprint on hypothesizing
with The Private Eye posted in this web site.)
3) Students move into typical Private Eye hypothesizing
discussions, in small groups, based on their analogy lists: "If
the stamens remind me of ______(eg., octopus tentacles), how might
they function like that to help the flower reproduce?"
4) Students now dissect the flower parts, louping and drawing smaller
and smaller parts as they go, drawing analogies and form-function connections,
hypotheses, from the analogies. With time, they can test their hypotheses.
5) Sarah Carlson has her students move to a "Form Follows Function" Game.
She collects the students books and culls from them fifty or more student
analogies, listing them on an overhead in random order. Students then
try to figure out which clues refer to a pistil, which to stamens,
and why. Can you tell what flower part these analogy clues refer to?
snake tongues / sponge / fingernail / eye lashes / antennae / diving
boards / paddle Why do you think so?
On to the Gallery...