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Peer Review

Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration Activities and Labs



Overall Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.25 starsstar
Reviewed: Nov 03, 2013 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: Nancy Clark has put together a web site that lives up to its name. This site is an excellent resource for science teachers. It provides a nice combination of activities, worksheet, laboratory exercises, puzzles, games, songs and online quizzes. A nice addition to the site is the ability to use Google Translate! Within Biology, there are 15 different subjects all with activities, labs and links. To help teachers as they integrate the topics and activities to their classroom, Nancy has incorporated a link to the National Science Standards. It is one page from a much larger website, called "Awesome Science Teacher Resources" created by retired teacher Nancy Clark. The site was, "selected by Science Educators from the National Science Teachers Association."
Learning Goals: Individual activities are linked to standards as well as each of the major subject areas being linked to the national standards. No specific learning outcomes are listed.
Target Student Population: Many of the activities are high school are lower, but some are college appropriate.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Some of the topics will require prior knowledge in General Biology, while other topics could be approached without any prior knowledge.
Type of Material: A static web page containing a list of clickable links.
Recommended Uses: Starting curriculum for new instructors, adding to curriculum for moderately experienced instructors, and bringing variety to curriculum for experienced teachers. Oriented to activities and labs.
Technical Requirements: This site requires only a web browser, but many of the resources linked to the site use PowerPoint, Adobe Reader, MS Word, Adobe Shockwave, and possibly other software.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
  • A great variety of links to a great variety of sorts of resources
  • Lots of visual material (animations, images)
  • There is interactive material
  • Most aspects of photosynthesis and respiration are represented
  • Very simple organization up to the point where you select a topic
  • The level of the material is variable; college instructors will have to sort through material to find appropriate resources
  • Some of the material is of lower quality, with errors

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Provides quality materials for both the novice and the experienced instructor.
  • Often contains material that an instructor has not seen before
  • Online instructors, in particular, will find many links to useful material
  • All links leave the site, so the user is on the actual site of the resource, and all links open in a new window
  • Resources are briefly described
  • Resources are divided into discrete activities, labs and links to other sites
  • The hyperlinks to activities and labs are embedded in short commentary by Nancy Clark, suggesting she has used or evaluated all the links
  • A link to national science standards is provided
  • Google Translate is presented with a drop down menu, allowing the site to be translated into numerous languages
  • The resources are presented as bullet points, but are not organized into topics (i.e. photosynthesis, glycolysis, respiration, and other topics are intermixed and presented in random order); this means an instructor looking for something specific will simply have to sift through the resources
  • Few descriptions of the resources are provided and those that are are cursory; this means instructors will have to open each resource to evaluate its usefulness
  • A lot of the included resources would not be appropriate for college, but it is not easy to tell which without opening the resource
  • Some activities are essentially the same as others

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.25 stars
  • The links all worked on multiple browsers and on Mac and PC
  • The links to documents of particular types (Adobe PDF, Word, PowerPoint) are indicated by icons of the software
  • Anchor links to the three sections (activities, labs, links) are provided
  • The resources are presented as bullet points, but are not organized into topics (i.e. photosynthesis, glycolysis, respiration, and other topics are intermixed and presented in random order).
  • The list of resources is presented as a static page floating on a very busy background of repeated psychedelic images of mitochondria, and there are ads along the right margin, both of which are distracting
  • There are anchor links along the top, but then another layer of horizontal menus above that to other sections of the site; better layout would improve the ease of use
  • To make full use of the resources easily, without lots of navigating around, you would need to have some prior teaching experience

Other Issues and Comments: A potentially very useful site, but as presented is an unsorted, unannotated set of links which makes it less useful to those without the time to search through and evaluate the resources themselves.