Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Insane in the Membrane - Section 4: Insane in the Membrane!


Cells can be a challenging concept for middle school students.  Without actually being able to "see" them working, they can have a difficult time connecting to the concepts.  Models are a great way to develop a conceptual understanding in students surrounding such a challenging topic.  In this lab, students are able to create a visual representation of what a the process of molecules through a cell membrane might look like.  This provides students with a visual reference point to build understanding from.  It allows them to make their learning visible.  It is important when asking the students to use models that you call it by name.  If you do not explain to them that they are making a model of a cell moving molecules across the membrane, they will not make the connection and this awesome lab turns to just playtime with bubbles.  Explain to them how models can help their understanding and in your discussions with them as they work, formatively assess if they are really connecting to what the materials represent. It is also important to allow students to develop their own models.  In the first portion of this lab, I provide them with a procedure to complete the model.  I made this choice because they were just beginning with their understanding of cell membranes.  However, in the second portion of this lab, I ask them to be the ones to create the model.  This process always allows students to make deeper connections and conceptual understandings.  In short, practicing the strategy of using models with students can improve understanding.

  The Benefit of Models
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: The Benefit of Models
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Insane in the Membrane

Unit 7: Cells: Structure, Function, and Processes
Lesson 4 of 12

Objective: Students will be able to develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.

Big Idea: Students use soap bubbles to model the function of a cell membrane!

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36 teachers like this lesson
Science, Cells and Cellular Processes, cells, cell membrane, cell function, cellular respiration, plant cells, nucleus, transport, membrane, Prokaryotic, eukaryotic, DNA, organelles, microscope
  75 minutes
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