Reflection: Real World Applications Cell Stories - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities


Perhaps I am a softy but I can't think of teaching biology without considering the very real impact that it has, not only on my life, but also in the lives of my young science students. So much of our collective experience rests upon our health (or lack thereof). For example, my brother-in-law (Byron) lost his battle with colon cancer at 32 years old and it has had seismic impacts on my family.

Maybe its due to my heightened awareness of the role of biology on our day-to-day experience that this is an ever present thought as I approach many of my lessons. That being said, I want students to develop a sense of sympathy/empathy as they consider the very real struggle of others. It was for this purpose that I chose Sam, Zac, and Lauren since they are very real and tangible people who embodied regular folks dealing with issues (minor to very major). In my discussions with my students, very few had no connection to a friend, family member who battled some form of disease like diabetes, cancer, and cystic fibrosis. If left to its natural course, our conversation could have easily spanned half the class period.

As you will see in these three work samples, each student clearly articulated the "why" in why students ought to have a working understanding of cell structure and function. Moreover, they addressed, in different ways, the bigger picture relating to health and wellness. Overall, I was very impressed with the sophistication in their responses.

In particular, student #1 rightly observes how eating habits can be greatly impacted by cell failure (as in diabetes) in addition to that fact that knowledge of cells may save someone's life. 

Student #2 notes the very real inconveniences of diabetes, cancer, and cystic fibrosis. Out of this, I hope, is a greater appreciation of the fact that so many of us (myself included) have a very good quality of life.

Student#3 goes in a bit of a different direction than the other students. In her case, she connects that all living organisms are composed of cells; that is the cell is a unifying feature to life on Earth. In reading her response, this seems to be a new understanding, and while it was not an explicitly stated learning goal, it certainly is foundational to cell biology. A win for science!!!

  Real World Applications: A heart of sympathy/empathy and a mind for...cells?
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Cell Stories

Unit 2: 2) Cells ("Form and Function")
Lesson 2 of 20

Objective: SWBAT to explain how a knowledge of cells relates to the very real experience of health (both wellness as well as disease). Additionally, students will develop a sense of sympathy regarding the impact that cell failure can have on daily life.

Big Idea: Health (and disease) is the direct effect of proper (or poor) form and function of cells.

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11 teachers like this lesson
Science, Cells and Cellular Processes, cells, form vs. function, Communicating Information, experiential/inductive, structure and function , asking questions, medicine
  45 minutes
my story
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