A demonstration practical: correlation between digit ratio and aggression

Source: wikimedia.org
Source: wikimedia.org

It’s blindingly obvious that students will learn things better if we model them first (see Rosenshine, 2012) and most of us are in the habit of modelling all sorts of things, including the sorts of thinking and writing skills that Psychology requires. However, with the recently increased emphasis on practical skills at A – Level (in Edexcel’s specification, anyway) I’ve found myself planning for lots of practical work and it occurred to me that I’ve never modelled the whole process of a practical investigation for my students. Bits of it, yes, but not the whole thing. On reflection, that strikes me as a bit of an oversight. Here is an attempt to put that right. The aims are twofold: (1) to show, all in one, the steps involved in carrying out a practical investigation so that students have an overview of what they will need to do and how it all fits together; and (2) model good research practices and set appropriate expectations about ethical conduct during research. It is based around a  practical investigation that can be done in 45-60 minutes depending on the size of the group.  It’s a correlational study of the relationship between D2:D4 digit ratio and aggression.  There’s a lesson plan, a slideshow, a PBAQ-SF questionnaire for measuring aggression an  Excel spreadsheet for analysing the results and a sheet for students to record their observations during the demo.  I’ve also written an example report, which is pitched for students studying the Edexcel specification (users of other specifications YMMV).

Rosenshine, B. (2012). Principles of instruction: research-based strategies that all teachers should know. American Educator, Spring 2012.  

Resources: two lessons on recreational drugs and synaptic activity

Image by Philippa Willitts.

Here are two lessons on recreational drugs. The first helps students understand the range of mechanisms by which different recreational drugs affect synaptic activity. There is a lesson planslideshow and an activity in which students must work out the effect of a different drugs on postsynaptic firing rates. The second lesson explores where our understanding of cannabinoids comes from and contains different activities to get students thinking about biopsychological research. There is a lesson plan, a slidehow and a reading on cannabis research. Edit: here is a link with more detail on the reciprocal teaching routine. Also, I forgot there was a Socrative quiz to go with this lesson.

Resources: a lesson on synaptic transmission

Here are some resources for a lesson on synaptic transmission. It’s based around this modelling activity for teaching synaptic transmission. There are some slides, a text on synaptic transmission, a Socrative quiz on the structure of synapses and a moderately tricky activity on summation and excitatory/inhibitory inputs.