What will you be doing on the first day of biology class?
First impressions count. They make a difference. Whether it is a job interview, or meeting potential in-laws for the first time.... first impressions are important.
When students walk into your class on the first day of school, what first impression will you make? There are alphabetized seating charts to be made, textbooks to be issued, supply lists to go over, grading policies to be discussed, and syllabi to be passed out. There is just so much "business" that must be taken care of!!!
But.... Is this the impression you want to make on the first day of school?
Why not get the kids out of their seats and do something fun on the first day of school? If you make a great impression on the first day, then students don't mind so much when you go over the "rules" on the second day. The first day message to the students should be, "My class is exciting. My class is different. My class will be demanding, but I want to make learning fun."
My new idea this year for a first day activity is a "Back to School Biology Scavenger Hunt." I teach in a large public school. It is not unusual for students to walk into my class only to discover that they do not know anyone in the room. And, as quickly as possible, I would like to know the skill level of the students I'll be teaching. This activity covers both. The scavenger hunt will allow the students to get to know one another, and it will help me determine how much they already know about biology.
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So how does the scavenger hunt work? Take the students outside. This can be done in an outdoor classroom, the playground, or just any area of the school yard. I am fortunate enough to have a pond and a wooded area that border our school.
Students will work in groups of two to find examples of the items I have included on their 2-page handout. Examples include:
- Find and name three heterotrophs.
- Find 2 biotic and 2 abiotic factors.
- Find an organism with an exoskeleton.
Answers are written on the handout. In addition to answering the biology questions, the students must write down the name of their partner and a "fun-fact" about their partner. After answering 6 questions, students must change partners and work with a different student on the next 6 questions.
This is a free download from my TpT store. I hope you and your students enjoy the activity, and I hope you have a GREAT first day of school.
Have a great year!