A new way to role play!
Sunday 22 February 2015
Role plays normally fill me with dread, but there is an easy way for everyone to enjoy them. Next time you want student to debate an issue in a Biology lesson make masks of famous biologists and put carefully structured information on the back of each mask. I was amazed how well it worked. Even the most timid students were able to participate and the quality of the discussions was better than I had expected.
In this example the students carried out a discussion about the nature of cooperation in biology and the issues around Watson and Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA. The resources can be found on the page of learning activities for the Human Genome Project.
For success there needs to be a group of personalities with differing views. The information on the back of each face should include three parts; an introduction to the personality (we need to have a reason to know the person), a point of conflict (otherwise there will be nothing to discuss), and it's best to suggest points which may lead to a resolution (so that the discussion actually come to an end). I also included information which students were expected to learn in a text box.
Participants at a recent Inthinking category 2 Biology workshop also enjoyed trying the activity. Why not try it yourself.