Reflection: Relevance Genetic Drift lab - Section 1: Hook

 

Whenever possible, I use my students as part of an example. In this particular lesson, the idea was easy. "We are the only inhabitants of Room 35. This is our little world. Now, remember we live in earthquake country, so as I am talking to you there is an earthquake that kills us all, except for anyone sitting in tables 1 and 2. They are the only ones that survive and reproduce. How would that change the traits that we see in Room 35?" After the ensuing giggles at the idea of anyone in the class "reproducing" die down, the students themselves start pointing out the only possible traits that would be able to be passed down. 

This simple strategy of using the students to exemplify a concept increases engagement and joy in the classroom. The students become more aware of the lesson since they are active participants in the story that is unfolding.

The caveat to this strategy is that you need to finesse the scenario so that the joy remains while eliminating the risk of anyone becoming offended or feeling "put on the spot" unfairly. Would I have chosen the same "survivor" tables to include a student from an extremely conservative family? Probably not.

Another example of a classroom story could be what I did in my Newton's First Law lesson. A student had left his hat on the table, which according to our school's policy should not have been out at all. As I was explaining the First Law of Motion, I pushed the hat off the table. The "offender" was reminded about the school rule, and we all got the idea of "an object remaining at rest until an unbalanced force acts upon it".

I invite you to find opportunities to find classroom stories. They sure make lessons come alive.

  Making it real
  Relevance: Making it real
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Genetic Drift lab

Unit 8: Evolution
Lesson 4 of 17

Objective: Students will be able to determine the effects of genetic drift in a population.

Big Idea: Sometimes things happen just by chance.

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