Templates & Lessons
April 13, 2022
My Favorite Pear Deck Lesson: Fingerprint Minutiae
Picking a favorite lesson is a lot like picking a favorite child: impossible. Each one is lovable for their own unique combination of qualities and traits. So when it comes to lessons, it’s helpful to identify exactly what attributes might make a specific lesson a “favorite.” In my case, I tend to gravitate toward the basics. For any given lesson, I’m looking to hit on the following three questions:
- What do my students already know?
- What do my students need to know?
- How will I know if my students learned it?
Luckily, Pear Deck provides convenient, engaging, and simple tools to help elevate any “old” lesson to a “favorite” lesson. This favorite lesson of mine introduces students in a high school forensic science course to fingerprint minutiae.
Minutiae are specific changes in the ridgelines that make up a fingerprint. Up to this point, my students often have never heard of minutiae and haven’t yet considered how to distinguish fingerprints from one another beyond basic classification. Adding an interactive Pear Deck slide makes it easy for me to activate prior knowledge and gauge what my students already know in order to frame the rest of the lesson.
From there, it’s time to focus on what my students need to know. Allowing students the opportunity to interact with new content is much more engaging than simply showing students each type of minutiae. Again, Pear Deck’s slide templates make this process easy for teachers and fun for students. I built this lesson with Drawing slides so students could draw the minutiae themselves, allowing me to see their responses in real time and also providing students an artifact of their own creation to use and reference afterward.
Asking questions and sharing student responses stimulates conversation and sparks interest, too. Suddenly, students become active participants and contributors. In the example below, I didn’t give students the answer. They provided their own responses, and we then selected the best responses together. Providing quick feedback, seeing examples of their own work, and collaborating together to highlight exemplars and address misconceptions keeps new content relevant and meaningful for students.
Finally, how will I know if students learned the new material? This is the point in the lesson when students benefit from having multiple ways to demonstrate mastery. For this reason, I tend to gravitate to Pear Deck’s Drawing and Text slides. The open-ended format of these two question types allows students the opportunity to demonstrate what they know in a way that they know it. And more often than not, these question formats help me learn more about my students’ learning styles, preferences, and interests, too.
Building in opportunities for self-assessment and reflection helps me determine what students have mastered and which content to revisit. Plus, our classroom community gains a sense of accomplishment when we can visibly see and represent our collective progress toward the learning objective.
So while those three guiding questions drive most of my instructional planning, an element of fun ultimately tips the scales for a lesson to become a fast favorite, not to mention an easy way to continue cultivating relationships with students. Pear Deck offers no shortage of opportunities to infuse lessons with an unexpected bit of fun using any number of their SEL templates or creative applications of question types to design interactive slides and brain breaks. Since this particular lesson incorporates a lot of Drawing elements, students love channeling their inner Bob Ross.
Find some of the slides that Katie used in her lesson, like the wonder prompt or yes/no Draggable slide, in the Pear Deck Orchard!
Science Teacher and Instructional Technology Coach
Katie is a science teacher and instructional technology coach for a high school district in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Katie is passionate about supporting teachers and leveraging educational technology to engage students and foster relationship-building.