What does, "form follows function" mean? How can students grasp the reasons for similarities and differences among animal and plant species? Connect explores ways students of many ages can discover how an organism is designed to function in its own habitat. Problem solving and experiential learning come together in this interdisciplinary focus topic.
Online articles from this issue:
- A Skeleton on Which to Hang all Kinds of Learning
- Several years ago when I started teaching 7th grade life science. I faced the familiar problem of not enough money in the budget. I couldn't buy the materials I needed to teach my bones unit. In desperation, I accepted twelve long-dead, laying hens that had been culled from a local hatchery, and spent a putrid afternoon butchering them. I sacrificed evenings for the next two weeks, bent over a boiling cauldron in my backyard, up till midnight, trying to get these tough old birds to yield up their bones, free of meat.
- What is "Form Follows Function?"
- The concepts of evolution and co-evolution are quite abstract. Begin with some thought-provoking questions and opportunities for exploration. Students of any age will see why a particular species has taken a certain form, creating an efficient way to perform a function that helps insure survival.
- Experiencing the Concept
- Here's a satisfying way to really get your teeth into an activity that will elaborate the concept of "form follows function."
- The Nature of Elementary Science:
- This profile of effective student practice is the result of teachers and administrators applying the knowledge and methods of the Vermont Elementary Science Project, and then reflecting upon their classroom experiences with each other. This collaborative view of "ideal" student outcomes is particularly relevant to the development of new programs and to the assessment of inquiry-based, elementary science.
- A "Louse-y" Environment for Learning
- Lice epidemics are a given fact in most schools. The very mention of the insects brings teachers to scratching their heads.
- Hands-on or Paws-on
- Children love to hide. In this activity, students get an opportunity to see just how animals successfully hide. The concept of "camouflage" becomes clear as they challenge their classmates to find hidden shapes on scraps of fabric.
- User Friendly Insect Anatomy
- Suggested macro-parts of insects to be studied are: hairs, bristles, fuzz, scales, "whiskers," horns, claws, hooks, spines, spurs, plates, wing veins, knobs, filaments...
- Along with the development of the brain, humans have another great advantage, the opposable thumb.