At a Glance


  • Biology
  • STEM

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP
  • University


  • General Biology

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Discussing
  • Analyzing
  • Reviewing & assessing peers
  • Reading
  • Writing

Technical Details

Useful Technologies

  • Interactive whiteboards

Class size

  • Small (20-49)


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building
  • Preparation & knowledge activation


Students are assigned to groups and presented with a take-home reading assignment on the transformation of matter and energy by living organisms (biogeochemical cycles). Based upon their groups, students individually answer one question in a multiquestion assignment.

In class, students work within their groups to compare, discuss and analyze one another’s answers, forming a consensus on the correct answer and transcribing it onto an interactive white board.

Groups then move from board-to-board, evaluating and commenting on the other groups’ solutions to related problems (gallery walk and peer review). Following this, groups evaluate whether to include/exclude the feedback provided by their classmates in reformulating the answer to their assigned question.

Instructional Objectives

Students will compare and contrast energy transformation and nutrients cycling, at cellular and the ecosystem levels. Students will describe the differences between nutrient cycling and energy flow and how trophic levels interact in an ecosystem. Students will predict the impact of a human activity on an ecosystem.

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

Suzanne Kunicki

Suzanne Kunicki

Dawson College, Montreal, QC


Each student becomes an “expert” on all of the questions, but must only spend the time to complete one. Students learn to evaluate each others responses and provide helpful, respectful feedback.


Some students become protective of their answers, whereas others readily incorporate comments.


SMART boards are useful in completing the activity, however it can be adapted to whiteboards.

Applied Strategies


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