We all have our favorite lessons to teach and this might be mine. With students working in small groups, big groups, collaborative work, research, some kinesthetic instruction and an engaging use of technology, there’s something here for everyone.
Assigning Students an STI
Sit students in groups of 9. Print and cut out multiple sets of the 9 STI name cards and randomly hand these out to each student. (pic 2). You can also hand out a copy of the STI worksheet to students at this time.
Students then re-arrange themselves into smaller groups with those who have been given the same STI card. What I like about this part of the lesson is that it encourages students to ask “who has syphilis?” etc. It’s giggly at times, but it’s allowing students to talk about STI’s in a safe way, in a safe environment. I talk about communicating with partners throughout this unit and I think this activity helps in some way.
The Pre-Test Moment
In the small groups the students brainstorm what they know about their STI for a few minutes. This allows me to point out that they come to this class with different knowledge about certain STI’s. The trichomoniasis group typically can’t write anything, but the HIV group always manage a few sentences.
The Kinesthetic Word-Web
At this point we leave the room to find a larger space and bring nothing other than our STI card. I explain that we are going to create a word web, not on the whiteboard, but with our bodies.
- Students get back into their original groups of 9 in which each STI is represented once (pic 3) and they stand around a the card that has ‘Sexually Transmitted Infections” printed on it.
- Students are informed that the STI’s in this activity can be broken into 3 categories – virus, bacteria, critter. Without prompting them, they try and ascertain which infection falls into which category.
- One member of each category holds the large sign (pic 1) and forms the start of the category branch. Additional infections attach to the branch by touching the shoulder of the student in front. (pic 4) Prompts can be given towards the end of this stage of the activity.
- At this stage I talk about the categories and perhaps some of the infections. And then I give the following commands:
- “Sit down if you think your infection can be treated”. (No one should be standing at this stage, but there is always a few students standing which leads to a good discussion).
- “Sit down if you think your disease can be cured”. I talk about diseases being cured and pose this question….”If you have been cured of an STI, do you have to tell future partners?” The answers from my students are varied, and very interesting. Invariably the words trust and honesty become part of this discussion.
Students return to the classroom and sit back with their smaller groups, those with the same infection, and add to their notes. What additional information have they learned about their infection as a result of the kinesthetic word web? (pic 5).
Researching From Valid & Reliable Sites
Staying in their small groups I give students about 15 minutes to research their STI thoroughly and become experts in that one STI. They are directed to the following sites, which is a list taken from one of Chris Pepper‘s resources. You MUST follow Chris on Twitter!
The STI Case Studies
Essentially the post-test moment. Students return to their original STI supergroups of 9. Each STI is represented by an ‘expert’. Students download my STI Case Studies e-Book and try and diagnose each case study presented to them. This engaging iBook contains 9 fictional case studies of patients with STI symptoms.
Listen to the discussions as you hear students talk about their infection and explain their answer. (Can’t read iBooks? A PDF copy is available in the Google folder for you but the interactive elements won’t be available to you).
When I did this activity today, ALL of my groups successfully identified the correct STI’s.
I finish the lesson by asking the students what were the biggest takeaways from the lesson and ultimately what did they think was the functional knowledge that I wanted them to know. In the lesson they get to access great sites but their takeaway should be that self-diagnosis is difficult and that getting tested is a must if they suspect something isn’t right, if they’ve exposed themselves to risk, or if they have a new partner. One of the benefits of the fully interactive version of the e-Book is that the speech bubbles on page 11 can be tapped to find the answers, PLUS……if you tap the red/white capsule, you’ll get a pop-up of the answer key.
My follow up lesson to this one is my ‘Question Matrix‘ activity in which I teach students how to ask better questions. I ask them to formulate STI-related questions in advance of a visiting guest speaker who talks them about HIV. This is one of the most popular #slowchathealth blog posts of all time.
If you want to read more about how I use movement in the classroom then you should check out ‘More Movement in the Classroom‘.