This digital assignment was one of the first online learning assignments I created. As is to be expected with each new learning activity a teacher creates, the assignment was modified as I tried it out with different classes. Students were moving the text boxes and complaining that they had to delete the **INSERT YOUR TEXT HERE** within the text box before they could answer the questions. Broken links and google docs that weren’t owned by me created their own set of challenges so I set a goal for myself to master google slides and figure out ways around this.
Being a high school teacher who teaches 4×4 semester-based classes (I see the students every day for 90 minutes over the course of the semester), I was able to tweak the lesson each semester. The movable text boxes have been replaced by placeholder boxes and students can pull side tabs to access additional information they might have found by following a link. You can find a copy of this assignment here.
How to Successfully Implement This in Your Class
I love this assignment because it allows students to conduct research over the span of 33 slides to learn the different aspects behind how scientists classify living things. That sounds like a ton of work, and while this is a challenging assignment, the key to this being successfully implemented is through dual chunking.
I chunked the topics for you to decrease the apprehensiveness students feel when presented with an assignment of this magnitude. The second way to chunk this assignment is to break down the seven topics into days.
Topics covered in this digital assignment are:
- Biological Classification
- Domain Research
- Six Kingdoms of Life
- Animal Groups
- What’s the Key to Classification?
- Tree of Life
- Changed fonts and theme layout to improve readability
- Added diagrams
- Flattened slides to prevent students from moving the assignment around the page by mistake
- Created PULL boxes to with information instead of following a link
- Deleted text boxes and added placeholder boxes
- Fixed broken links
Increase Student Interest with Choices
Students will work harder for you if you give them choices. Even if they have to complete all the tasks (which my students have always had to do), I ask them to complete a specific number of them each day. Usually, I give students two days to work on this assignment because I have them for 90-minute blocks but go at a pace your students can handle.
This assignment is great for blended learning classes but can be implemented in various classroom models, including those where technology is limited. I only hope this assignment works as well for your classes as it has in mine.