Fermentation factories and concept maps

When distanced, try a demonstration! Eaton High School biology teacher Amy Kochensparger used this method to teach the corn fermentation in a bag lesson to her students.

“Remote learning and social distancing made student interaction with this lab a challenge,” she said. “I did a live demo of the fermentation factory lab, and students made predictions and observed the test results.”

To build connections, students created and then revised concept maps of cell processes. Some maps were made in-person and the class had a socially-distanced gallery walk; other maps were created digitally and shared as a virtual gallery walk. Students were challenged to go back to the posters after the lab and consider how their lab data fit with cellular respiration and photosynthesis. Some groups chose to also include chemosynthesis as another cell energy aspect. The students used post-it notes to add new information, ask questions, or give feedback based on what they learned in class about fermentation, reactants, and products.

Kochensparger said the students were engaged and wanted to change variables to see if the results would change. Multiple students commented that they had never thought of this process and found it helpful to see it in action rather than just reading about the process.

Kochensparger was part of the summer Feed the World workshop, participating in Feed the World lessons and receiving supplies for her classroom. “Using this lab with my students brought these concepts to life and allowed the analysis process to be engaging, even if they were learning remotely. The maps were an excellent way to dig deeper into the content and to address misconceptions.”

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