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A Literary Crossover - Using Acrostics To Merge Biology And Biography
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A Literary Crossover - Using Acrostics to Merge Biology And Biography

In the present multimedia age, there is really no excuse for letting any opportunity to go by without some attempt at curriculum crossover. The techno natives have grown up with application software, games which test lateral thinking, decision making and problem solving skills and a phone that can be almost everything but a phone. Now if someone can just fix up the connection issues, we might be able to use our camera, game player, video recorder, audio output, calculator, gps, email device as a phone!

Asking the modern student to focus on a single method to learn a single concept for 40 minutes is like trying to teach a new dog old tricks. He's too smart for that.

The only option is to try to incorporate cross curricular skills and technology wherever you can.

For example, if your students have some literary ability you could try using acrostics or acronyms. This technique can help students organise their research and summarise the contributions of important scientists they might encounter in the Biology course.

The world has gone acronym crazy. I'm not sure whether you feel a surge of annoyance when someone goes to get money out of the ATM machine. I am tempted at time to reply "sure, sure, help youself, self to the money, money from the automatic teller machine machine if you want, want. I'm off to make, make myself, self, a rather large coffee, coffee!" But of course, that could just be me.

Acostics are safer, and a little easier too. The main thing here is not, necessarily, to impress your poetry teacher, though feel free if you wish. It doesn't have to be a limerick or haiku, hey it doesn't even have to rhyme, but each line should start with a letter that together with the others spells out something meaningful. I have popped on my green hat for this activity. Actually it is in suprisingly good shape, almost brand new in fact (with apologies to de Bono). Feel free to improve on the efforts below.

Two key scientists that have made significant contributions to the field of microbiology are Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch. Here's an acrostic for Pasteur:

  • Pastuerisation developed
  • As a result of the need to
  • Sterilise certain products using high
  • Temperatures to
  • Eradicate microscopic organisms
  • Usually
  • Responsible for disease

and one for Koch:

  • Knowledge of the link between the
  • Organism and the
  • Cause of a disease
  • Helped us to find a cure

I am sure you have a little more literary style than I do and finding ways of creating and passing notes like these around the classroom provides additional opportunities for your students to demonstrate their skills across the curriculum.

Find a copyright free image and put the acrostic, together with the image into a word processed document or powerpoint and you are really ticking all the boxes. Integrating technology in science lessons is not about being an expert in technology. It is just about finding the right tool for the right learning experience.

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