Saturday, 2 June 2012

Solo Taxonomy as a revision tool Using QR codes and a Google Form

I need time to add the resources for this.

My first attempt at a revisional exercise using SOLO involved halved hexagons.

Students worked in pairs and were presented with a series of halved hexagons. The hexagons were split between question stems and answers to those questions. They had to piece the hexagons together.

When they had achieved this they then flipped the hexagons over to reveal a QR code constructed when they pieced the correct hexagon halves together. If they had connected the hexagon correctly with the correct question stem and answer the QR code when scanned would launch them to a google form.

In the first instance of doing this I cut out the hexagons and then on the back I stuck a printed out QR code for a specific set of statistical details of the case study. Then I simply cut the hexagon in half. Wa la! 

Google forms are brilliant and they offer teachers multiple ways to construct a question and more importantly answer input from the student. The question types range from text, paragraph text, multiple choice, choose from a list, check, to a grid.

I mainly used simple multiple choice options as I wanted this stage to be quick and for students to get on to the main activity. So why was I using this?? 

I wanted students to build up the use of key CASE STUDY specific statistics and details.

So students filled out the google form and checked to see how well they knew the statistical and detail parts of their case study.

They then went on in class to construct an essay answer based on the case study, which was about China’s One child policy for an approach to reduce population growth. They were allowed to use the completed google form as well.

But before going hell for fire into the essay I wanted students to flip over the hexagons again and to using the hot map guide frame in my small at the minute thinking tool kit.

This was a stimulus to get students to arrange the hexagons around 3 core themes. Advantages, Disadvantages and background of the one child policy. The background hexagons I wanted students to think of as depth to the case study so they were still relevant and worthy of including in an essay.

I’m also working on developing students literacy especially with the longer questions such as the 6-9 markers. SOLO fits brilliantly with this as from the specification to get to a level 3 answer (GCSE) students must demonstrate that they are linking their answer together and use case study specific terminology and detail.

What is that highlighted term??? (I sense people are putting 2 and 2 together here and seeing RELATIONAL!

I have begun very basic with my students and need to have a word with English subject folk on how to really develop this but my efforts are simple. Such as the linking sentence terms in bold below.

So to the essay with a google form and solo arranged hexagons as resources to use to combat the essay.

The following is an answer by one of my students that I have simply copy and pasted from an email I asked to send containing it!

The 1979 One Child Policy introduced by China was a policy to reduce the rapid population growth problem and limit the strain put on scarce resources. The policy would work by limiting the number of children a family could have to 1 if Parents had only one child they would get a "one-child glory certificate," which entitles them to economic benefits such as an extra month's salary every year until the child was 14. Among the other benefits for one child families were higher wages, interest-free loans, retirement funds, cheap fertiliser, better housing, better health care, and priority in school enrollment. Women who delay marriage until after they are 25 would receive benefits such as an extended maternity leave when they finally get pregnant. This demonstrates a carrot approach to entice Chinese couples to have only one child. The stick approach involved these privileges been taken away if the couple decides to have an extra child.

To help promote the one child policy Slogans such as “Have Fewer Children Live Better Lives” and "Stabilise Family Planning and Create a Brighter Future” were painted on roadside buildings. Some crude family planning slogans such “Raise Fewer Babies, But More Piggies” and "If you give birth to extra children, your family will be ruined" These were banned in August 2007 because of rural anger about the slogans and the policy behind them. The one child policy angered rural people as many are farm workers who need labour hands to help produce the food that China needs! Therefore if the one child policy was nationwide it would make resourcing such as food production even scarcer!

However the one-child policy actually only covered about 35 % of Chinese, mostly those living in urban areas. The conventional wisdom in China has been that controlling China's population serves the interest of the whole society and that sacrificing individual interests for those of the masses is justifiable.

A huge problem with the one child policy was the impact on abortions. Most families wanted a boy in order to work and carry on the family name and so as a direct result of this there was a dramatic increase in female abortions. They accounted for 90% of all Abortions!! This also led to scenes such as babies dumped on the street or under bridges. This shows from a human being perspective that the policy was destroying human rights!

In conclusion the policy although it harsh especially with the impact on abortions and steralisation after many births on the mother the effects on population growth are clearly optimistic and beneficial to the country’s problem. In 1979 China had a birth rate of 40 per 1000 in a year as a result of the ‘one child policy’ this was reduced to 17 per 1000 per year by 1980. Therefore the one child policy worked as a strategy to reduce the population growth as the birth rate fell by 23 per 1000 per year.

I was really impressed with this essay. She has clearly used statistics and case study specific details throughout.

So in conclusion I thought the lesson went brilliantly. 

The use of solo as a strategy to get to this stage have been huge and I will be doing a hell of a lot more SOLO with my classes.

Incidentally I have begun a voyage with many other Geographers in using SOLO taxonomy. If you are interested then we've created a hashtag on twitter called #geogsolo 

I have also created a series of google docs on different aspects on employing Solo in Geography. Many of the sections are bare at the minute but they will be extensively added to over the coming week as I am on half term.

Plus to emphasis the power of twitter we are having a global #geogsolo discussion for an hour on 16th June 12pm GMT. COME AND JOIN US!


  1. This sounds great. I love Google forms and am about to dip my toes into the world of SOLO. If you haven't tried flubaroo to grade Google form I would strongly advise having a look. Generates instant feedback which can be instantly shared with pupils.

  2. Hey John... I also liked this essay and you have also put in your great efforts in preparing docs. I am now looking forward to your future posts which I can say will be very good quality :)

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