Sometimes the only way to make progress is to leave something behind.
The exploration of human anatomy is vital for intermediate students. Through the use of PowerPoint, students can take an active role in studying the body's systems and processes while also learning how to make presentations.
This lesson, a collaborative effort between the classroom teacher and the media specialist, will challenge students to create Microsoft PowerPoint presentations that explain the different systems of the human body. Prior to the lesson, introduce students to the various systems through class discussions and textbook reading assignments.
Begin the lesson by dividing the class into groups of three to four students. Introduce the students to PowerPoint software and demonstrate how it can be used to communicate information to others in a presentation format. Explain that each group will research an assigned body system and then create PowerPoint slides about its system to share with the class. Each group must define its system (purpose or core functions); explain the major organs involved (including their location and function); and identify four "wow" facts about the system. Have students research their body systems independently in the media center over two to three class periods. Next, circulate project worksheets and research packets to help students assemble their information into group presentations.
Both the classroom teacher and the media specialist should dedicate considerable time to explaining how to use PowerPoint to enhance presentations, rather than relying on it as a crutch. In particular, make sure students understand that their slides should contain talking points to guide their presentations rather than paragraphs that will be read verbatim. Review and edit each group's final research packet before allowing students to proceed further.
Once packets are approved, the media specialist should use a projector to walk students through the process of creating a PowerPoint presentation. Each group should have a computer on which to build its presentation. Work as a class to complete the groups' first slides. Once students are comfortable with the software, have them complete their remaining slides on their own over two class sessions.
When all presentations are complete, the classroom teacher should instruct the students on how to present in front of an audience. Have students spend the next two class sessions creating note cards for and practicing their presentations. To conclude the lesson, invite parents (or other classes) to attend the class's body systems presentations.
This lesson focuses on fourth-grade science subject matter (but could be adapted for other grade levels).
This lesson fulfills the Illinois Learning Standards for Science and several National Educational Technology Standards for Students developed by the International Society for Technology in Education.
Evaluate students on the quality of their individual and group work; their speaking voice during classroom presentations; their knowledge of the body systems studied; and the quality of their PowerPoint slides.