Testing is over… Finally!
Now, you can sit back, kick your feet up, and relax.
You still have a couple weeks of school left and need to keep students engaged. What are you going to do?!
Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.
These last few weeks of school can be difficult with keeping students’ attention. I want to help you and your students by sharing 6 of my favorite go-to end of year biology activities that will keep your students engaged.
1 – Do a dissection
It is not a secret that most students love dissections.
During the year, you may run out of time or you have a set curriculum that tells you what you have to dissect. Once testing is over, poll students on what they would like to dissect and go with the majority.
Make sure to choose specimens that are appropriate for your grade level.
Since students had a choice in what they wanted to explore, you will be more likely to have increased student attention as the year winds down.
Dissections are great for hands-on engagement for students and they get to work on team-building skills, as well as following directions.
2 – Explore a scientific career
Assigning a scientific career project will engage students while also incorporating real-world applications into your curriculum.
Talk about two birds, one stone – am I right?!
When students are given a career project in biology, they are given the opportunity to explore the different career options that are available and the educational and experience requirements for each.
Here is a useful scientific careers article to share with your students.
You can assign a career assignment in a variety of ways. Usually, I decide the format of the assignment based on the students in my class that year.
In the past, I have assigned the project as a research paper, as a movie project, and as a poster presentation. This is definitely an assignment that you could let your students’ creativity shine and make it their own.
3 – Run hands-on STEM projects
Everyone is familiar with the ordinary laboratory assignments in biology, but not many teachers consider out-of-the-box STEM projects in this class.
One of my favorite end of year biology activities were biomedical engineering projects. This is an area that always retained student interest, but there never seemed to be enough time before testing.
Once testing is done, time allows for these more time consuming projects that students tend to enjoy.
Here is one of my favorite STEM projects to assign:
- Give students the task of building a prosthetic or medical device that will solve a current issue in the medical world
- Students would create the design in small groups, discussing materials, functionality, costs, etc.
- If your school has a 3D printer, they can even create a small prototype of the design
- Once the design is printed/drawn up, students must analyze it. They should determine which parts are designed well, and which parts need revision
- Have groups give each other peer-to-peer feedback
- Students can give a final presentation, or you can create a classroom display of their projects
By incorporating hands-on STEM projects, you will help students create a connection between concepts learned in class and real-world applications. These projects can also inspire students to pursue careers in biology or STEM fields.
4 – Get outside
When testing is over and the end of the year is upon us, the weather is also getting nicer. This is a great time to take your class outside and get some fresh air.
There are so many things you can do outside that are related to biology. For example, you can go on nature walks, take a field trip, and partake in ecological surveys.
By going outside, you not only gain student engagement, but you are also helping them attain a more tangible and memorable learning experience. These are the activities that your students will remember most and learn the most from (even if they don’t realize it)!
You can also use this as an opportunity to emphasize that human activities have a direct impact on the environment. Students can compare and contrast how the environment has been affected by local pollution, as well as climate change.
You can also take it a step further and have students predict what will happen to their local environment in ten or twenty years.
5 – Allow student to choose a topic of interest
A brilliant way to engage students at the end of the year is by allowing them to choose their own research topic. By giving them this freedom, students will want to develop a deeper understanding because they are interested in the topic.
To implement this type of exploration project, provide students with some guidelines and examples of research questions. Then they can create their own research question.
You should also plan to provide support and feedback throughout the project. This ensures that students are on the right track. For some students, this may be the first time they are given this type of freedom.
By allowing students to choose their own research topic, you are providing a personalized and meaningful learning experience. Students will be more likely to critically think and create real-world connections between their topic and concepts learned in class.
You can further incentivize students to put effort into their research by offering a small prize for the top projects.
6 – Collaborate with younger students
Now that testing is done, there is time for collaborations between younger students, which is enjoyable for both the younger and older students.
As the end of the year is near, you can ask your students to create childrens’ books for students at the elementary school. Students can work in groups and you can assign each group a different biology topic.
Students can begin by brainstorming ideas for the story and the characters. Then, students need to explain their biological topic in a way that younger students will understand, but also be entertained. Including illustrations and pictures are required to make the book more engaging and interactive.
Once students are finished creating their books, you can coordinate a time for students to go to an elementary school and read the books to the younger students. Not only will your students enjoy creating the book, but the younger students will be elated when the older students read it to them!
Enjoy the end of the year with these Biology activities!
The activities that I have listed above are only a small snippet of possibilities that you can do to engage students at the end of the year. Remember… students will be more engaged if you are! So, choose activities that you are also excited to share with your classes, and students will feed off of your energy.
Now that you’ve got the end of the year planned, it’s time to start looking forward to next year….
It feels so good at the end of the year to know you’ve got next year planned. You can relax over the summer, knowing you’ve got your lessons ready!
If you are getting a head start on your planning, check out my whole year bundles:
I hope you have a wonderful day,