Cells: Protein Production Part 2

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Students will be able to understand the importance of proteins and the roles they play in the cells.

Big Idea

Proteins are products made by the cells.

Teachers' Lounge

The purpose of this lesson is to reinforce learning on how proteins are made in the cell and also introduce students to the number of jobs that proteins do for the body.

Strategies to look for:

Modeling- In the Collaborative section, I model how to annotate and clarify.

Writing to Think- Students use writing to think twice in this lesson. I do this to solidify and shift their thinking.


3 minutes

Learning Goal: Understand the function that proteins play in the cells.

Essential Question: How do you make a protein? List the steps.  

Students come in the room, get ready (get their stuff), get set (get settled in their seats), and engage in writing the learning goal and answering the essential question on the board.

As the students are walking in I remind them to get ready by getting their folders and get set by setting up their work station.  When the bell rings, I put three minutes on the timer and say to the students, "Ok kids, you should be engaged in our work now."


5 minutes

For the hook today, I am re-showing the "Inner Life of cells video"  Concentrating only on the part the shows protein synthesis.  (1:33- 2:36) I tell the kids that in this part of the video they are going to see the nucleus, RNA, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, vesicles, Golgie body and cell membrane.  I ask them to watch and try to identify what is happening using their notes from yesterday.  



5 minutes

At this point I stop the video and now go back to the beginning of the protein production part (1:33) and this time narrate my way through the video.  Below is a screencast of what this might look like.  


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5 minutes

Now that the students have had a chance to see the video animating the notes that we discussed and practiced yesterday, they are ready to continue processing, but this time independently.  I ask the students to get out their Writing to Think notebooks and respond to the prompt, "How does the cell produce a protein?"  


This is a part of the literacy framework of my classroom.  Writing to think is an opportunity for the students to connect their thinking without worrying about how it is going to sound or what I am going to say.  We keep our writing to think in a notebook in the classroom so that it is easily accessible.  

One of my goals with writing to think is to help improve the students's stamina over time at writing.  Each time we do this strategy, I set a time limit and the goal is for the students to write for the entire time.  If they can't think of anything else to write, I ask them to write down some of the key words like protein or organelle, until the are ready to go on.  Over the last two months my students have gone from being able to write for 2 min to 4 min.  This is a great improvement in fluency and stamina.


10 minutes

Today the students "investigate" a reading together to make meaning of the text.  This reading is pretty short but dense, which is why I am choosing to use a collaborative practice.  

The students first read each paragraph together and decide what to annotate based on our class norms.  

My basic annotation norms are

- Circle vocabulary and other important words.

- Underline the main idea

- Use ? and ! to point out confusing or interesting texts. 

Then they write the big idea below each paragraph.  It is a good idea to model this using a document camera.  

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At that point they separate the jobs listed in the reading to different team members.  This is the jigsaw part of today's reading.  Each student has a job to read a specific piece and report back to the group.  Depending on the size of the group, some students may have two "jobs" to become experts on.  

Students come back together after their independent reading and report on their "job".  To insure rigor, and to improve my students' ability to communicate (scientifically and effectively) they must use sentence starters:

  • I learned that....
  • One thing that proteins do is...

All students also take notes. 

When done the whole class will come back together for guided questioning.


10 minutes

I want to help solidify the importance of proteins in the cells using a questioning protocol.  The students have had a chance to read collaboratively, but they probably could still use the chance to talk about the questions before being held accountable.  For this reason, I use THINK-PAIR-SHARE with random name drawing.  The questions I ask include:

1) What are proteins made out of?

2) What puts proteins together?

3) What are some uses of proteins in the cell?

The first thing I do is ask a question and give students a chance to think.  Then I ask them to discuss it with their partner.  While they are discussing the question, I draw a name stick.  I ring my bell and call the name on the stick.  The student is rewarded with a ROCK STAR SCIENTIST ticket.

If the answer isn't complete, I'll ask a follow up question and draw another name.  It is aways tempting to get into a socratic discussion with a student, but I try not to do this, since it means that 25 other students are sitting and not thinking!  The more sticks I pull, the more assured I am that all the students are taking part in the discussion.  


5 minutes

Students will do a second writing today to help solidify their thinking about the importance of proteins.  The prompt they will write to is, "What jobs do proteins do in the cell and the body?"

Cell Model Assessment Follow-up

2 minutes

I am giving my students a project to complete at home during this unit.  At the end of the unit we will display our projects in a cell museum.  You can find the rubric and assignment here.  

I like to check in with the students just briefly during class to remind them about the assignment and see where they are in it.  

1) Students chose to do a model or a poster.  I give students the option of a poster to support my free and reduced lunch students.  They can still make a fabulous poster that looks the same or better than anybody else's with no financial outlay.  Models can be made out of any material.

2) Students fill in the structure/function/picture/thinking chart.  This is where students actually show understanding of the structure and function of cell organelles.  Advanced students are encouraged to use metaphors as opposed to make a pure model, as this allows them to display more thinking.  For example, one might say, I chose a whiffle ball for the nucleus because it has holes in it and could hold things inside.  

As the cell models come in, I display them like a museum.  Students are allowed to look at everyone elses and are encouraged to have discussions and give feedback using the rubric.  Depending on time, students can vote on their favorites.  


2 minutes

For closure today, I preview what we are going to do on the next day.  I let students know that we are going to model the protein making process in the cells by doing a "factory like" simulation.  Then I ask them what sorts of role do they think we will need in our factory.