Student-centred Learning in an Invertebrate Diversity Lab
Kwan Mei Yam
Learning invertebrate diversity using brute force memorisation can be painful. Getting students to explore what they want to learn beforehand and share their findings with one another during class, may help motivate them to take ownership of their own learnings.
In an invertebrate diversity lab, manuals for the whole semester are made available at the beginning and supplementary materials with pictures, links to selected online videos and guiding questions were made available several days before each class. Students are divided into groups and each group is assigned a group of organisms to study every time. During class, each group is to give a presentation highlighting the common characteristics as well as unique features of particular group(s) of organisms using preserved/live specimens available in the lab, as well as pictures and/or videos they have prepared. After each presentation, presenters will be challenged with questions from the floor. Teacher and teaching assistants will be clearing misconceptions and providing missing links whenever appropriate. Using this approach, we want students to know that each and every one of them will be responsible to make the class an informative, interesting and engaging one. Apart from gaining knowledge, students will have ample opportunities to develop various soft skills.
Following the presentations, students will have some free time to further study various specimens on the spot. The session will be ended with a post-lab quiz using Kahoot. Follow-up questions/discussions after each question will be in place to clear misconceptions and help consolidation of knowledge.