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Cooperative Learning - Role Playing Activity

Alan Hoffman
1991 Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute


Topic: Organic Molecules

Objectives:

  1. To enrich student understanding of organic molecules in an unusual way.
  2. To allow students to incorporate this difficult knowledge into ways of thinking and understanding that they value.

Background:

Learning about organic compounds is extremely important but is often disliked by students. A way to reinforce their learning and to meet the needs of various learning styles is to allow them to develop and perform a script in the form of a play. This allows for group interaction and students learning from one another in a very active way.

Procedure:

Organize the class into groups of four students, attempt to include at least one uninhibited, creative student in each group. A sample handout of the assignment is included. Each group is to select one of the "Acts" and develop a skit to perform in class on the designated day. Creativity, humor, and factual, conceptual correctness are to be encouraged. It is important to approach this topic in a way that the students do not think of it as drudgery. Tell them that it is their day to perform and have fun. A sample handout appears below.


The Compounds of Life
A Biological Farce in Four Acts

Act I. Polysaccharide: Ain"t She Sweet?
or (I thought all sugar was the same)

Act II Where Have All the Monomers Gone?
or ( What's this thing they call polymerization?)

Act III Can You Unfry an Egg?
or ( the protein who came unraveled)

Intermission -----Refreshments Provided

Act IV The Promiscuous Enzyme
or (Who is your substrate tonight?)


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