Teacher Review For NOVA Labs

Design RNA Molecules and Save a Life!

Donna M.
Classroom teacher
Vista Visions Academy
Vista, CA
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My Grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Science, Health & Wellness
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Engagement 5
Pedagogy 5
Support 5
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
How I Use It
The short content videos (less than 4 minutes each) are perfect for maintaining student interest. They provide a great review after traditional text/lecture delivery of content and provide "just in time learning" as students work through puzzles. The puzzles cover information about protein synthesis, RNA function, and the role that RNA plays in fighting viruses. These are perfect to assign at home in a blended or flipped classroom model. Included on the site are video quizzes that can be used to check for understanding. The site publishes a schedule of when scientists who are working in the field, are available to answer questions and engage with students. The opportunity to participate as a scientist in additional research is an added bonus.
My Take
I really like the opportunity for interested students to be able to engage in real-world research. The lab itself presents accurate content in a fun way. The educator guide is well-organized with applicable NGSS standards aligned and additional NOVA resources linked to enable teachers to easily create a unit. Traditionally, I did not take a week or more to teach RNA, but the connections to actual research in this lab are invaluable. Another factor to keep in mind is that this site requires Flash so many devices are not compatible.