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Cranial Creations: Teacher Notes

Chuck Downing

"The Whole Cell Catalogue"

This is a fun assignment which allows the kids creative latitude while demanding scientific accuracy. I normally assign this at the end of the first day of my cell unit and have the catalogue during the week when the final unit test on cells will be given.

  • Allow one day for group formation and initial in class research.

  • Allow a portion of at least one other day for group research and consultation.

  • Set a rough draft due date for about 2 or 3 days before the final catalogue is due.

  • On the final draft due date, allow a significant amount of time to put the "finishing touches" on the catalogue and bind it for submission to you. Finishing touches might include page numbers, if someone ran over the one page limit implied.

  • I recommend one staple in the final draft for ease of grading.

  • I assign 30 points per page. Each student gets for his/her page plus an additional amount based on the entire catalogue. For this group grade, I simple average the scores for each page and add that to the individual score, so this is a 60 point assignment. To give you some perspective on this value, I will run about 2000 points per semester in my classes. Tests are usually 100-150 points.

  • I divide the 30 single-page points into three 10-point sub-units. 10 pts for the accuracy (I am merciless here.); 10 pts for the neatness and following of directions; 10 pts for the creativity.

  • Once you start the process, the groups tend so self-police each member. The rough draft date is essential to allow peer pressure to work in its finest form and encourage any stragglers to get with it.

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