Bond with James: Biology Just-in-Time #3

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Biology Just-in-Time #3

We hosted the third Just-in-Time (JiT) session for the high school biology teachers in our district today. The topics included photosynthesis and respiration. Click here or scroll down to an earlier post to read an overview of the JiT Science workshops we offer.

The biology teachers were led through various activities that they could, for the most part, immediately take back to their campus and implement. The activities included hands-on manipulatives,  lab investigations, and creating graphic organizers and/or foldable manipulatives to incorpate onto the right-side of an interactive notebook. Teachers also discussed activities students could do on the left-side (output) of the interactive notebook.

Here are a few of the foldable manipulatives and graphic organizers to help students develop an understanding of where photosynthesis takes place in a plant. Additionally, our Region Service Center (RSC) specialist also stressed the importance of using other photosynthetic organisms, such as bacteria, in order to address a student misconception that plants are the only photosynthetic organisms on the planet.

Here are three foldables to help students compare and contrast photosynthesis and cellular respiration. As mentioned earlier when teaching these topics, teachers should address the misconception that plants do not undergo cellular respiration (they do!). Additionally, teachers should use non-plant examples as frequently as possible when speaking of photosynthesis and respiration (i.e. bacteria, single-celled organisms, etc.)

Teachers also participated and received several card sort activities that they could use with their students as pre-, during, and post-assessments. Here is an example of a card sort teachers participated in.

The card sort activities could be created as a class set or for each student to place in a baggie or envelope in his/her interactive notebook.

The JiT sessions also try to incorporate actual lab activities. Below are pictures of an inquiry lab teachers participated in using live organisms. Some of the bromothymol blue solutions began to change color half-way through the session. Teachers were able to take their samples home/school to view the results as well. Our district has a living materials warehouse where teachers can check out live specimens.

We had a microscope lab, but we ran out of time prior to lunch. However, we did leave the microscopes out during the afternoon planning session in case teachers wanted to engage in the activities provided. During the planning session, the curriculum specialist and I support the teachers while they plan. Some teams need more assistance than others, however, we provide support for everyone. :)

Stay tuned for more JiT blog posts! 


  1. Would you be willing to share the handouts/descriptions of these activities for others to use in their classrooms?

  2. I can add more descriptions in future posts concerning activities. Unfortunately, all handouts are copyrighted by my district and/or the Region Service Center.

  3. Are there any other places you could suggest we can go for something similar? Those graphic organizers are really great! My students are struggling with the concept, and so I am really trying to get them to grasp the concept.

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  5. what was the lab activity depicted in the picture showing pieces of sponge in the tubes. WE would like to see if we can replicate it for a special science project.
    thanks alot,

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