Saturday, June 29, 2013

Play Doh HIV

This is an activity I started using play-doh to demonstrate how HIV works.  I started using play doh as a way to “demonstrate/explain” other content areas as well.  It is fun for the kids, they can use their creativity and they come up with some hilarious demonstrations/examples of whatever concept you are teaching.  It has become a fun activity that gets the kids engaged in class and be creative.

I have cookie sheets that I use for different activities (Paragraph Puzzles) so they come in handy for this one too.  They work to make the activity a little more portable and “contained” and it helps with clean up as well.  I went out and bought 2 “cases” of smaller play-doh containers of different colors.  I think there are 24 little tubs in a case which gave me somewhere around 50 smaller containers.  I think it ran me about $25.00.  So far that amount has worked OK.  

I simply divvy up the tubs of play-doh based on the number of groups I have.  I usually try not to have more that 4 to a group.  You can adjust the amount of play-doh you need based on class size.  I will say, the more you have the better.  Kids LOVE using lots of different colors.  I will probably add another case this year just to help with replacements and options.

This activity I use as an in-class assessment as to how well they are grasping the concept of HIV’s function inside the body.  We talk about all the different White Blood Cells and their jobs in the vodcast as well as what HIV does to specific WBC.  That sets up the whole premise of why and how HIV turns into AIDS, how meds work, why people get sick and eventually die.  Typically this would be an activity that would follow a Vodcast or two & Q & A discussion.  (see Vodcast 7.1 & Vodcast 7.1a StarWars)

I tell them to create a model using the play-doh to show/explain how HIV attacks the immune system.  Make sure you are showing the functions of the parts of the immune system and how HIV interacts with that. 

I simply break them into groups of no more than 4.  I give them the directions and let them go.  Once they are “finished” I come around and they explain what their model is.  A few guidelines I use are to not mix and mash the pay-doh to make “tie-dye”.  It is fine to “mush” different parts together of different colors but try not to “mix” them together.  It just keeps the play-doh colors intact for other groups.  And the obvious not throwing or stealing the play-doh .. J

Outside of that, the kids are on their own to create their model. 

Once they are done they pack up the play-doh and put them back into the correct color tub and make sure the lid is sealed tight and bring their tubs and cookie sheets to the table (I usually check all of them too.)  Usually the kids then want to walk around and see what other groups have made.  If
you have time and resources you could have the kids do a gallery walk when they are finished to see what other groups have put together.  It is a great way to showcase their work.   Sometimes I take pics of each group’s model and then I can show those on the screen the next day and have the kids explain their model to the class.  It works pretty good if you have the time to show case each groups’ work.. 

This is also one of those great times where if a student has not watched the vodcasts yet they can do that in class before playing with the play-doh.  It is amazing how much play-doh is an incentive to high school kids … ;-)

I am also starting to use the play-doh activity for other concept areas as well.  It started with this activity concerning HIV/AIDS but the light bulb clicked on and I started seeing where I could have the kids use play-doh to demonstrate/explain/assess other areas too.  They ask for the play-doh all the time.  “Mr. Troeger…. can we do the play doh thing today????” ….. weird  ;-)