Here are some methods that educators can adopt to ensure that their students learn as much as possible from their experience with the tank:
Emphasize hands-on learning
The Bioma program is designed to allow maximal self autonomy for educators, allowing educators room to design their curriculum as they see fit. The program includes a plethora of lesson plans to choose from during each stage of the tank, ranging from arts and crafts to sciences and mathematics. While hand-on activities may take additional time to set up, we have found that the depth of understanding that students gain from these kinds of activities is invaluable. A study by Purdue University confirms our observations. By adopting more hands-on lesson plans, educators can improve the overall quality of their student’s education.
Ensure that each student receives ample time to observe the tank
A large part of environmental learning and science in general is based around observing and making hypothesis from those observation, later to be experimented on. It’s crucial that each student gets enough time to observe the tank; we have found that the best way to do this is by sending groups of 2-3 students to the tank during class time, and allowing students to come in and watch whenever they are curious. Most of the students we have worked with gained invaluable insights just from watching the tank which they would not have comprehended from reading material alone.
In many ways, watching the tank is a good activity for educators as well; it allows you to relax after a stressful day of school.
Split their classes into smaller groups
It’s important that each student receives ample resources to learn, and in many larger classes, it may be best to print additional sets of materials. We have found that for card games and smaller engineering/crafts projects, a group of 4-5 is optimal. Smaller groups allow each students a greater chance to participate, and prevent some of the more engaged students from crowding out the shyer ones.