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Mobile Learning Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1: Collecting Biological Phenomena in Everyday Life

As a homework assignment, students will use their cell phones to take pictures and/or videos of biological organisms that they encounter on their everyday travels. They will send the pictures, along with a short description of what they think the photo shows, to a private media storage site at Flickr.com. Back in the classroom, they will place their pictures on a digital map that shows where they discovered the organisms, and then classify them by type.

Students will…
•    explore and document their local biological habitats and the plants and animals that live in those habitats.
•    place images of the biological phenomena on a map in the location that they were discovered.
•    interpret the reasons why those particular plants and animals live in the habitat.

Cell phone (basic or smart) with the capability to take pictures and videos
Computer with Web access (site accessed: flickr.com )


The teacher sets up one mobile Flickr e-mail account for all students to use with their cell phones. See the tour here.

•    Log in to flickr.com
•    Register for an account
•    In the account, click on Uploading Tools---Email
•    Copy the e-mail address onto a handout for the students

The teacher creates a directions sheet on how to send a picture from a cell phone to the mobile Flickr address. Directions should include the following steps:

1.    Add a New Contact
2.    Under New Contact, add a new e-mail as the Flickr email
3.    Take the picture with cell phone
4.    Click on Send
5.    Add your Flickr e-mail contact as the “Send to”
6.    On the Subject line, text a description of what you found and where you found it
7.    Click on Send


1.    The teacher goes over mobile safety and appropriate use before beginning this lesson.

2.    Next, the teacher explains that the lesson is an introduction to a unit on biological classification, organisms, habitats, and the types of species found in a particular habitat,  therefore she will not give much background on biological habitats in general, and the flora, fauna, or species found in each. Instead, for homework, students will use their cell phones to take pictures of animals and/or plants they find in different places around their local community. When students come across a plant or animal outside of the school yard, they will take out their cell phones, snap a picture of it, and send the picture to the mobile Flickr website. Along with the picture, they will send a short message describing where they found the phenomena and what they believe it may be (such as “a maple leaf found at Bay Harbor by the dock” or “a porcupine found in my backyard”).

3.    Back in the classroom, the teacher uses a teacher-station laptop or desktop with a projected screen, and log in to the mobile Flickr account. Under Menu—Organize and Create—My Map, the teacher can create a map that will automatically appear when the account is accessed. The teacher asks each student to come up to the computer, click on his or her picture(s), and place their pictures on the Flickr map in the exact location where they discovered the phenomena.

4.    Next, the teacher takes down the projecter and reviews the basics of biological classification with the students.

5.    The teacher then flips back to the projected Flickr map and discusses with students what “kingdom” they believe their organisms belong to (such as “fungi”). Next, they discuss the phylum, subphylum, and class the organisms fit into. Once a determination is made, the students add this information under the description of the picture on the map.


•    Students who do not have their own cell phone can take pictures with a digital camera, upload the pictures to the computer, and send them to the Flickr site via e-mail (using the same e-mail as the Flickr mobile address).

•    If students have video capture on their cell phones, they can document their findings in a short video (describing what they believe the biological phenomena is and where it is located), and send the video to the mobile Flickr e-mail address.

•    Students can choose to focus solely on plants or on animals.

Hints and Tips:

•    The teacher should make sure students add the mobile Flickr e-mail address as a “new contact” in their phones before starting the project. This way, they will not lose the address and will have it with them at all times.   

•    The teacher may want to ask students to text in their name (or an ID) when they send in their pictures and movies so that she will know who has completed the assignment.

•    Once the mobile Flickr address has been created, the teacher can use this address for future class projects throughout the year.


By Elizabeth Keren-Kolb

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