Well… it’s that time of year again…
It’s testing time!
Love it or hate it, testing has to be done, but you can make it as fun and painless as possible.
It is not a secret that biology can be a challenging subject to study for. There is such a large amount of information that it can seem daunting and impossible to many students.
I want to break down three of the most engaging biology test prep lessons you can use in your classroom. It is my hope that these activities will help to break up the monotony of studying and make the content more enjoyable for your students.
1 – Educational Games
Students love games. If a game is involved, students will always perk up and become a little bit more engaged with the content. Don’t you think?
By incorporating games into your biology test prep lessons, you are providing these benefits to your students:
- Enhancing the retention of information
- Encouraging active learning
- Providing immediate feedback
- Increasing motivation
One of my favorite educational games to use is Kahoot! Kahoot allows all students to participate in an interactive and fun quiz. As the teacher, you will project the Kahoot game onto the board and let the kids play.
It is that easy!
For an added bonus, students can play with nicknames if they are nervous to play with the whole class.
Once the game is over, you will be able to see the reports for each game played to observe students’ mastery. So, if students did use a nickname, make sure they let you know so that you can identify their work.
Of course, not all educational test prep materials need to be digital.
One of my favorite games to use when reviewing with my students is to create a scavenger hunt!
To do this, I will create a list of review questions and write them on notecards. I will then hide the notecards around the classroom and the school. Each question should lead students to the next clue.
I then give each group the first clue and let them loose! The first team to complete all of the questions correctly and return to the starting point is the winning team.
Not only does a scavenger hunt provide great biology review, it promotes teamwork and critical thinking skills. This activity also gets them off their devices and forces them to talk to one another.
Talk about a win-win situation!
2 – Role Playing Activities
Role playing activities are a fun and interactive way to prepare your biology students for testing. This review activity will help students to become fully engaged in the material and engage with the concepts in a new way.
The possibilities are endless, but here are two of my favorite examples using role playing in the classroom before testing.
- Ecosystems: Assign each student a different role in an ecosystem, such as a predator or prey animal, or a plant. Students will act out a scenario that involves their character and demonstrate how they interact with other organisms in the ecosystem. This can include food chains and webs, symbiotic relationships, competition, and more. As an example, a student identified as a predator can act out stalking their prey.
- Human body systems: For this role playing activity, each group would be assigned a different body system. The groups would then research and create a role playing scenario that involves their body system. For instance, if a group of students are assigned the respiratory system, students could role play a marathon scenario. In this scenario, someone could act out running a marathon and the other members can show what happens in the respiratory system as the runner experiences a shortness of breath.
This is so much fun, and really works to help students understand and remember concepts. I’ve had students say after exams that they remembered e.g. Georgia carrying oxygen from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.
Having their peers involved in the process can make it more engaging for students, and ultimately more memorable!
3 – Doodle Notes
Ah… Doodle Notes… we meet again!
I LOVE Doodle Notes!
But…I won’t continue to bombard you with the reasons why. If you want to read about why I love them so much, then check out this blog post.
Test review is actually one of my favorite ways to use Doodle Notes in the classroom.
If students have previously utilized Doodle Notes, they should require minimal, if any, instruction. If it is their first time using them, students may require assistance, but they should be able to grasp the concepts relatively rapidly.
When using Doodle Notes for reviews, give students the majority of class time to work independently or in small groups on the Doodle Notes. Students may use their own notebooks, binders, or electronic devices.
Use your SmartBoard or a projector to display a completed Doodle Notes example to the class at the conclusion of class. Students can then complete any lacking information in their notes to ensure that they have all the pertinent information.
Students now have a comprehensive and colorful review to help them prepare for exams. These are a great study aid!
You can check out my library of Doodle Notes here.
Biology test prep lessons can be fun!
As you can see, incorporating fun activities into biology test prep lessons can help students review and retain information more effectively. The activities I mentioned not only make learning more enjoyable, but also encourage teamwork, creativity, and critical thinking.
Do you have any other fun and engaging test prep ideas?
I would love to hear them! Feel free to send me an email, as we can all learn from each other.
I hope you have a wonderful day,