Students often have many hidden misconceptions about evolution that can be be difficult to identify and correct. This creates problems when asking students to apply their knowledge of evolution theory and terms to new examples.
Using WordWriter to assess individual student understanding of various topics in the evolution unit can be very beneficial to identifying and addressing these misconceptions.
WordWriter also has the benefit of allowing you to work with students on peer assessment, literacy skills, and critical thinking.
What is this?
WordWriter (a part of BoomWriter) is a Group Writing Tool. It allows for students to write individual explanations using a word bank of terms and then peer assess each other's work to nominate a winning entry.
How do I use this?
Why use this?
● WordWriter allows students to practice peer assessment skills which can lead to increased self assessment.
● WordWriter provides an opportunity to gauge individual student’s understanding of a topic.
● WordWriter allows for increased individualized feedback by the teacher.
● WordWriter encourages literacy and communication skills.
● “Writing in science employs special forms and therefore also requires specific and focused learning opportunities. Students use writing skills to describe and explain their observations, to support the process of critically analysing information in both informal and formal contexts, and to present their findings.” - The Ontario Curriculum Grades 11 and 12 Science 2008
C3.1 explain the fundamental theory of evolution, using the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection to illustrate the process of biological change over time
C3.2 explain the process of adaptation of individual organisms to their environment
C3.3 define the concept of speciation, and explain the process by which new species are formed C3.4 describe some evolutionary mechanisms (e.g., natural selection, artificial selection, sexual selection, genetic variation, genetic drift, biotechnology), and explain how they affect the evolutionary development and extinction of various species
Next Steps/Extensions/Other Topics for this Tech Tool
Next Steps for this lesson can include: Switching to the related tool ProjectWriter (also on the BoomWriter website) to have students start creating an online, peer assessed “text book” of everything they have learned in the unit.
Other topics that can be taught using WordWriter include:
- SNC1D/2D Strand A - proper writing of a hypothesis or testable question
- SNC2D Biology - explaining organ system structures and functions
- SBI3U Genetics - explaining methods of inheritance or meiosis using key terms
- SBI3U Animal Structure and Function - explaining organ system structures and functions
- SBI3C/SBI4U Cellular Biology - explaining cellular transport and osmosis
- SCH3U Matter - explaining periodic table trends and reactivity
- SCH3U Gases - explaining applications of gas laws (ex/car airbags, scuba diving, etc.)
- Understand Evolution [a collaborative project of the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education]: A collection of resources explaining the science and history of evolutionary biology. Includes teaching resources. http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/home.php
- Glossary of terms related to evolution from PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/glossary/