The “Architecture of a Virus” international Smart Hands workshop has been integrated in the biology lesson “Viruses” which has been implemented with the 9th grade students from Colegiul National Emil Racovita.

The aims of the lesson were:

  • information selection on viruses by means of specific learning materials
  • use of specific terms to develop biology-related concepts, write papers, make exhibits/models
  • raising awareness of the importance of the concepts learned during the biology classes.

The students worked in groups. The teacher used the RAFT (Role Audience Form Topic) technique: each of the 4 groups decided on the roles, audience, and form in which they want to deal with the chosen topic, and the ‘making of’ activity begins. The teacher guided the students, checked how the activity developed, clarified things if needed, and encouraged everybody involved in the process. The teacher also encouraged students to make a 3D model of a virus by using recycled materials of their choice, efficiently putting into practice the theoretical information previously found.

The table below shows how the groups’ choices:

Group numberRole takenAudienceFinal product formTopic
1researcherUniversity studentslectureVirus multiplication mechanism
2biology teacherHigh-school studentsLesson planStages of viral infection
3doctormass-mediabriefingHow to protect ourselves from viral infections?
4designerstudents3D modelThe complexity of a virus structure

The lesson ended with the groups’ presentation of their final products.

What students do say about this lesson?

This biology lesson about viruses taught me how to work better in a team, exchange ideas with my teammates and work together to plan a very good product. We learnt about viruses, vaccines, how to protect ourselves from them, what diseases they can cause. I impersonated a doctor who had to speak publicly to the press to inform people about viruses and form of protection against them. Last but not least, I practised speaking in public, which gave me a real boost of confidence.” (Sara)

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