Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Simulating Protein Synthesis (Day 1 of 2) - Section 4: The Classroom Flow: Wrapping Up


This lesson is for me an ideal set up for peer collaboration, teacher-student interaction, questioning, and confirming toward collective understanding of complex concepts in science.  I have used other simulations for protein synthesis that were really involved and concluded with treats to eat, which was great.  But the pacing of those lessons was either too rushed or too long and students tended to focus on the reward to the point where if one member of the team had made an error, shifting the ingredients in the treat, students had a hard time controlling their disapproval.  

The simulation alone isn't what makes this lesson work.  By adapting the lesson so that students must move around the room in order to obtain the information and materials they need, they begin to associate their roles and places within the classroom with the sequencing of the steps of protein synthesis.   And because the materials area available throughout the room, students feel like they can go back independently without constant question about what or why they are doing so in order to confirm for themselves the kinds of details that are part of complex sequences that can really get a kid stuck, unable to see the bigger picture.  

I used to do this lesson as originally written where individual students travel alone.  But more and more I see the benefit of partnerships.  Does this adjustment mirror the way things work in protein synthesis? No.  But the benefits of doing it this way include a classroom low in pressure to perform individually with an focus on collaborative work that all kids are invested in and all students benefit from within the group.

Although in theory movement lessons can be chaotic, with structured protocols, teams for support and accountability, and clearly labeled and accessible materials located throughout the room for ease of movement, the result is a calm but active, productive experiences for students and teachers alike.

  Just My Type of Lesson: Movement + Simulation = Learning!
  Adjustments to Practice: Just My Type of Lesson: Movement + Simulation = Learning!
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Simulating Protein Synthesis (Day 1 of 2)

Unit 7: Unit 7: DNA & Protein Synthesis
Lesson 18 of 22

Objective: SWBAT trace there phases of protein synthesis (transcription, mRNA processing, and translation) through this engaging movement activity.

Big Idea: Get your kids moving and make a complicated process come alive as students take on roles in the three phases of protein synthesis!

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prot syn lab at the nucleus
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