Cells & Homeostasis: Introduction to Networks

Networks and systems are a recurring theme in biology, so today’s lesson focused on introducing students to the topic.  For the entry task, students were challenged with writing a short story explaining a picture of a squirrel eating a piece of pizza.

Entry Task 9-9-15

The students then transformed their short stories into network diagrams by identifying the key objects in the story and drawing them as nodes (words inside ovals), then connecting the nodes with edges (lines or arrows describing a relationship between the nodes being connected).  We shared out a few stories with the class, creating network diagrams of the student stories.  After completing the PBIS lesson for the day, we returned to drawing networks – this time, social networks.  Students were tasked with meeting all of the other students in class, identifying one thing in common, and writing the relationship as a network diagram.  We will use the network diagrams tomorrow for our social network activity.


  • System – a collection of nodes and edges
  • Node – the objects in a system
  • Edge – the relationship between nodes
  • Network – a diagram of a system

Students who enjoyed the data collection activity today might want to check out Aaron Kobelin’s TED Talk: