In keeping with the spirit of making learning interesting and accessible to all learners, we decided to take things right into each of the specialist learning areas we cater to. This time the spotlight shines on Biology, a learning area which most learners either take up as a result of starting to establish which direction their career specialisation is heading in, or they take it just to fill up their quota of mandatory subjects.
Either way, we’ve endeavoured to make Biology interesting again and so far we’ve been experiencing some rather positive developments and positive results.
Making it about the science life
Biology is indeed a study of the science of life and even if I have to say so myself, it’s been made into a bit of a bore as a result of learners not really being made aware of the link between what they read in the textbook and how that applies to life as they see and experience it every day. Sure, some of the concepts are explained as is and are delivered in such a way that that link simply cannot be missed, but then they’re made to be a real bore because they’re still not made to be interesting.
If I were to explore something like the study of the adhesive forces at play which account for the delivery of water in plants from their roots to their leaves, that’s something you’re either fully interested in or you’re not at all interested in it. That’s where your ability to learn about it and retain the vital information (for your exams) about the process comes into play – you’ll remember it much easier if you were inherently interested in it or you’ll cram it if you have to just so that you can get reasonable grades on your exam.
Things change instantly and every single learner becomes completely captivated by what can otherwise be very boring subjects and topics when we make things “come alive.” At the instructional level (when the teacher is delivering the lesson), this is simply achieved through something like hooking nano-cameras up to the inside of plant organs (kindly borrowed to us by the town’s biggest university), recording processes such as the mentioned one of adhesive forces delivering water to the various parts of the plant, and then playing back the footage on a microscopic level so that the learners can actually see exactly how it works!
Each and every learner retained 100% of the information as a result, but when we take things beyond the classroom and deliver the course material at the recital level (when learners are given a project to demonstrate their understanding), we did this by giving them a project such as one which would have them counting calories to work out what foods they’d need to eat and how much of that food they’d need to eat if they wanted to get the same nutritional value they’d get from protein shakes, for example. Such a project brings the Biology the learners study to life and real-world applications such as the nutritional requirements of an athlete keep the learners’ attention and help them learn much more effectively.