Reflection: Checks for Understanding Natural Selection - Section 1: Hook


I have always found that using videos to introduce concepts is engaging to the students. Good ones, like the Stated Clearly video used in this lesson, help me present the content succinctly and clearly. However, videos have the disadvantage of putting the viewers in a passive state of mind. Students might watch them as they watch their an episode of their favorite series - not much thinking is required. This is why I always stop the videos I present several times, which allows me and the students to have a conversation about what they just heard. However, no matter how many times I do it, and where I have "my little paper with the questions and stop times", I am often scrambling to hit pause or skip over something that I thought was crucial when preparing the lesson. 

Enter sites like Edpuzzle. Conceived for use in a blended learning environment, the site originally started as a way to embed questions into any video, with options like "students cannot go on until the question is answered". They also have the feature of adding comments, as well as the possibility of embedding or sharing without having to have a class assignment. That is the feature I used to prepare for this lesson, and I absolutely loved it.

Before the lesson, I embedded the checks for understanding at the appropriate times, so the video just stopped at those times and displayed the questions right on the screen. This allowed me to be away from the computer so I could use the ever-important proximity to students that might otherwise not be paying attention. Since the students were able to see when a question was coming up, I also saw an increase in focus and participation during the discussion.

  Using technology to your advantage
  Checks for Understanding: Using technology to your advantage
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Natural Selection

Unit 8: Evolution
Lesson 5 of 17

Objective: Students will be able to explain natural selection as a way for certain individuals to survive and pass on their genetic information.

Big Idea: Natural selection is not random.

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Science, natural selection (Evolution), Evolution, Genetics, fossil record (Evolution), Darwin, fossils, genetic drift, cladistics, mutations, embryology
  60 minutes
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