It’s testing season. My husband and I teach tested subjects in Texas and we have both created reviews. The following blogpost is from my husband who is a Biology teacher:
How do you get ready for your state exams? This is not an easy task and do you really want to create all your own material? I asked myself this same question a few years ago. The thing is, I was the only Biology teacher on my campus, so I did not have much of a choice. I knew that I didn’t want to create a massive resource that I couldn’t use, so I decide to break it into the 5 Reporting Categories that the state of Texas uses to organize the material. This seemed much more manageable than thinking about every TEK individually. I looked at the released tests and noticed many questions that kept reappearing and what the readiness standards were. Even when the TEKS slightly changed a few years ago, there were no major changes needed in my review. I’m proud to say, that I’ve used my reviews going on 5 years now and other than a few minor tweaks here and there, it is still a great review and relevant now more than ever. Please take the time to look at each category and see if any of this is something that you can use. All 5 categories are sold in a bundle, but each individual category is sold on it’s own as well. If you are struggling to know what to use to help you students, I think you will find this material very helpful. My advice is that you reflect on your data and decide where you need to spend most of your time. Do you need to do whole class reviews, individual reviews through tutorials? Are you planning a camp? Get a picture of where you should put your efforts, then it’s time to decide the resources you will want to use.
Category 1: This is a Biology review for Category 1: Cell Structure and Function. It is aligned with standards for the Texas EOC, but can be used for any science class as a review for cells and cell processes. The critical thinking worksheet supports critical thinking with 2 versions- one with a word bank, one without. This is a good collaborative piece, partner work or individual assessment. Students enjoy coloring so, why not learn about organelles while doing it? While using manipulatives, students can demonstrate knowledge of similarities/differences of the two cell types (pro- and eukaryotes) by categorizing cell characteristics using cards.
Category 2: Students typically struggle with genetic inheritance and anything DNA. This package focuses on essential vocabulary and working Punnett squares. Get your students proficient with the language of genetics and protein synthesis! Below is is one of the pages of task cards that is available in this review.
Category 3: This item will help students become familiar with the hierarchy of classification. Students critically think about how to color the Kingdom chart based on characteristics. Next, they classify themselves and for this activity, I have them choose one additional organism for each taxon that is shared with humans. Dear King Phillip Came Over For Good Soup!
Category 4: This set allows students to describe the interactions among systems focusing on regulation, nutrient absorption, reproduction and defense from injury/illness. Maintenance of homeostasis is featured as well as intensive investigation of the relationship between products and reactants of cellular respiration and photosynthesis.
Category 5: Ecology and energy flow review focuses on species interactions with each other and the ecosystem. The War Card Set will take on a life of its own. Most students know how to play war with cards but I noticed some groups would play an adaptation to Uno or they would make up their own game. Definitely make at least 4 sets and watch the creativity bloom!
I’ve added a new resource this year that I am excited to use. This idea came to me from playing a game at my daughter’s house. This activity breaks the monotony of worksheets and is competitive. Again, I broke it down by categories and I sell it as a bundle as well as individual categories. Your students will play a guessing game called “What am I?” Each student will get a chance to read the card where other students are guessing what the mystery word is. There are a total of 64 cards in the bundle. Copy, cut and go! Below, you will see a sample card:
Good luck this year and every year with testing season. It is exhausting, but you will get through it! Please let us hear from you if you have any questions about any of the resources.