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07 March 2005: A Nice Gesture (4 of 5)

And what about the high school level? Can you imagine a small, easy hand motion that represents the function of cell parts? Not only can these gestures support memorizing, but they can be an indicator of the cell's function as well. Nucleus holds the genetic information for the cell--cup your hands together, as if protecting something very valuable.

I once had a colleague who taught his class the water cycle through gesture. You'd see middle school students precipitating, evaporating and condensing up and down the halls during passing period.

Of course, the gestures can be even more powerful teaching tools if you let the students generate them. If you want them to remember five factors contributing to the Great Depression, make five groups, assign each group five minutes to come up with a simple hand gesture that will remind everyone of their assigned factor. Then, for the next three days, spend two minutes at the start and end of each class period rehearsing the five gestures and reviewing the factors. Those kids will never forget.

teaching quote of the day

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.

- Chinese proverb

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