Learning Teams

Students will be arranged by the teacher into learning teams of 3-4 students. These learning teams will be permanent teams for the duration of the course.

The model for our class learning will be based on the Harvard Business School model (Harvard Model) and the Team Based Learning Collaborative (www.teambasedlearning.org). At the beginning of the course we will develop a set of norms that all class members will be expected to operate by. The purpose of establishing norms is to create a safe, collaborative, and intellectually nourishing environment in which students will be free to make mistakes and challenge their misconceptions in order to grow as active learners with a strong intellectual character.

The use of learning teams will enhance …

  • The creation of a student-centered classroom versus a teacher-centered classroom. Students will learn to take control of their own learning and how to track and monitor their learning throughout the year. Our future will require students to be life-long learners, therefore students will need to develop the skills and intellectual flexibility necessary to adapt and change to a rapidly changing world.

  • The students’ abilities to access information from multiple sources, evaluate the quality of the information they are looking at, and evaluate the reliability of the sources from which they are pulling their information. Biology is a rapidly changing field of science; we cannot possibly keep up with all of our gains in knowledge, so we must develop the tools necessary for accessing information when it becomes relevant to our lives.

  • Students using information, skills, and knowledge to create products that reflect their understanding of the key concepts being studied and how they might be applied to real world situations versus memorizing information solely for the purpose of a traditional test. Science (biology) is NOT a stagnant body of knowledge that is intended to be memorized; rather science is an active and collaborative process of solving problems and answering questions. Over the year students, working in their learning teams, will learn to develop their own questions for investigation, to design experimental procedures to tests their proposed answers to their questions, to analyze data to either support or reject their hypotheses.

Learning Teams will work collaboratively on …

  • laboratory based activities

  • creating presentations of experimental results

  • case studies

  • Process Oriented Guided Inquiry (POGIL) activities

  • interactive online lessons from sources such as HHMI that are grounded in the current research

  • creating and presenting multi-media presentations on biology related content

  • selected formative and summative assessments (Note: formative assessments track students’ current understanding and are typically not figured into the student’s grade, summative assessments are more like your traditional quizzes and tests and will impact the student’s grade.)