Tag Archives: ecosystems

Engaging the Whole Class with Large SOLO Hexagons

Yesterday my Year 9 class were finishing up our Ecosystems unit in anticipation of quickly moving onto our next unit, Splitting the Atom. We have our half yearly exam coming up very soon so I wanted us to do a revision activity but without spending a whole slab of precious class time on it. Enter the SOLO hexagons!

Now I’ve talked before about using the SOLO hexagon activity in class, with some examples of how I’ve used them. But when I’ve done these activities, I’ve used the small hexagon template and had the students write on the hexagons and cut them out with scissors. The good and bad thing about this, though, is that it can be time consuming to get the students to build solid connections between ideas.

So what I’ve done this time around (with the gracious help of our lab assistant) is to use the large hexagon template (which has 2 per page), cut them out and laminated them. I also had a brainwave and stuck some magnetic tape on the back. The lamination means that you can write on them with whiteboard markers and erase them. The magnetic tape allows you to stick them up onto the whiteboard and make a whole-class tessellation!

I asked the students to write one idea, word, concept relating to our Ecosystems unit and then take turns to put them up on the board, connecting their idea to the ideas already up there. Here’s a photo of their efforts:

20140522-071838-26318864.jpgAt the end we had a few clusters of ideas that I wanted us to recognise, so I wrote those subheadings based on the students’ suggestions.

All up, this activity took 10 minutes tops! Now admittedly we have done the hexagon activity a few times now, so they have some experience and know the format by now, but it was a productive and efficient way to summarise our ideas. There were a lot of ideas not represented (can you tell that we’ve covered the water cycle most recently?) but it was a helpful way to cap things off.

A word to the wise, though – it can be a lot harder to clean marker off laminate than an actual whiteboard!

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