500 straws and building bridges.
AS revision today was based around using Post Modernism to evaluate Marxism based on a past exam question. I decided to have the students complete group work based on a particular theory which they would then use to evaluate the group work on the table next to them. So I have three tables working on Marxism, and three on Post Modernism- the plan being to build evaluative bridges between the tables.
Initially the students had to Build bridges to represent a theorists perspective, so that each bridge was labelled on either side of the tables it was built on. They learners then had to label what their theorist had said using post-it notes on the straws as well as add an extra note on how the theorists evaluate each other. This is the exact same planning they would use for an essay or exam- however, the straw bridges made the arguments visible and made them work hard to make the connections as well as think hard which ones were the most appropriate.
The focus here was on building up or reenergising the actual content of the theorists arguments, but then taking it a step further and using these arguments to available each other. I also really liked the students having to work together to actually build the bridges, and some very creative solutions emerged during the lesson!
When the bridges were built and labeled, the groups then had to report back on their most successful evaluative links- the rest of the class were encouraged to exhibit a-grade behaviour and take notes, which we then used to draw up a more traditional exam answer plan.
If you fancy giving this a go I can recommend Pound Land for the straws and I used play dough as an anchor for the bridges. I felt the activity was successful. The learners were engaged and all of them left with a completed exam question plan based on their collaborative work. If you can suggest any ways of improving it please let me know!