Reflection: Backwards Planning She Doesn't See It - Section 5: Student Activity: Reading an X-ray Crystallograph

 

When I originally wrote this lesson, I started with the product I wanted my students to make in the end.  In this case, the model Watson and Crick made.  Then I reversed engineered the process to design this lesson.  I broke the lessons down into certain steps so that students could see how big DNA was in comparison to their original model.  First I needed to determine what they did know about DNA and where their misconceptions or preconceptions were so we built our original model. (Watch this video that better explains what my students misconceptions and preconceptions were.)

Next, students needed to determine a way to compare their original model with a redesigned model that took Franklin and Wilkins' data into consideration.  This was very hard for my students and they struggled with several unsuccessful ways of comparison. (Watch this video in which I explain one method that finally worked for them.) 

Once students understand the structure and size of DNA, they can better understand the process of DNA replication and where enzymes attach and help form the new strand of DNA.  

Finally, here are some recommendations for scaffolding that teachers may want to follow when having their student complete this lesson.  

 

  Backwards Planning: Rebuilding Their Model
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She Doesn't See It

Unit 12: Molecular Genetics
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: Students will construct a model of DNA to understand its basic structure.

Big Idea: It's important to have the right tools when making a model.

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