This task was a homework that I recently set for my year 7 classes when we were learning about cells, tissues and organs. I split the task into two parts. The first part was a research task.
I asked students to choose an organ from the human body and to do some research. I wanted them to tell me:
- the name of the organ that they had chosen
- where it was found
- three interesting facts about it
- what it’s main job was
- whether they thought the body could manage without it.
I also asked them to provide references for the information that they have found. Referencing information is one of the areas in controlled assessment where students frequently lose marks so I am trying to introduce the idea early and give students lots of opportunites to practise.
The second part of the task was to write a letter. Students were provided with the scenario that the ‘Human Body Corporation’ was having to fire employees due to increasing costs. Their job, as a body organ, was to write to the head of the organisation and persuade them that they should keep their job. They were able to use the research that they had collected in the first part of the task.
I was pleased with the work that the students handed in. Some of them had made a really good argument for why they should keep their job and had explained in great detail why they were important and what would happen if they were fired. Many of them had identified other organs that they worked with and had suggested that these too should be kept. Some students went on to make a recommendation for an organ that they thought the body could manage without (usually the appendix or one of the kidneys). Some of the letters were very funny too.
When I use the task again I will also provide students with a template for a letter. I was talking about this task with one of the English teachers and she said to me that some of the students might not know how to lay out a letter as they may never have written one before. I hadn’t thought of this – when I was their age I wrote letters all the time, but technology is a bit more advanced these days!