Group-Created Science Definitions
September 13, 2006
I use the “Two for Two System” in my science class to introduce new definitions or concepts, such as the atom or physical change. To start, I place students in groups of two and give them two minutes to define the new term in their own words. They must use words they can understand, and the definition must be at least partially correct.
Next, I combine two groups so that four students work together; students should vote on the best definition or put their two definitions together. Then two groups of four combine to make a group of eight. As before, they create a single definition. Then two groups of eight become one group of 16. Finally, all students come together, and as a class they must decide on the classroom definition of that word. At each level they must vote on the best or combine the two into one. They then have some ownership of that definition.
I have never had a definition that made it to the end that was completely correct. Students love this exercise. It is competitive. They debate, explain, make connections, and reflect the whole time.