Using a Complex Science Concept for Writing

This week, as my sixth graders move forward with planning out a digital picture book that uses the concepts of a fictional journey/adventure story while also explaining the phases of Cellular Mitosis, I have to admit I was worried that the complexity of the science would overwhelm the writing of the story.

I guess I was wrong. Yesterday, after looking at some digital books from past years and a few other mitosis-related works (see this fun music video and also this voicethread sent to me by my friend, Maureen), they were incredibly excited about getting started. The air was buzzing with ideas and storyboards began to take shape.

What are some of the ideas?

  • A mad scientist uses an invention to shrink characters, who enter into a cell and must experience the phases of mitosis;
  • Contestants on a game show have to not only answer questions about mitosis, but they also get zapped into a cell to experience it, and only a few contestants make it out alive — kind of like Mitosis Survivor;
  • One team is doing a Mitosis Musical, based on Grease, High School Musical and some other movie and they are going to write songs for each page of the book;
  • A few stories revolve around a boring teacher blabbing on and on about mitosis so that the character snoozes and dreams they are in a cell and that’s where they learn from experience, only to “ace” the test when they wake back up in class;
  • and more … much more.

Wow! I was pretty impressed, and these are just a few of the ideas. The storyboards will be done in the next day or so, and then they get to work on the laptops, designing their own art, writing the story first in Word and then, after mini-lessons with animation and other interesting things in Powerpoint, moving to construct their story as a digital document.

If you are interested, you can view the project overview, the project checklist and the scoring rubric that we are using for the project.

More to come next week …

Peace (in cell division and creation),

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