Discussing Scientific Research of Alcohol and the Human Brain!

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Objective

Students will interpret and analyze data presented in a research article to discuss alcohol's damaging effect on the human brain.

Big Idea

Chronic alcohol consumption can create irreparable damage to the human brain.

Introduction

Lesson Background and Justification:

         Discussion is defined as the action or process of talking about something, typically in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas. In the science classroom, discussion can utilized to generate student interest or to expound upon a concept being presented via productive and active discourse. While, the effectiveness of the discussion itself is contingent upon many factors, the teacher's implementation of discussion style far outreaches others. Said styles include but are not limited to: 

1) Brainstorming Discussion: Sharing ideas without evaluating their validity or value.

2) Synthesizing Discussion: Putting ideas together. Generalizing from specific activities to a broader conclusion. Making connections to personal experiences, previous lessons, or knowledge constructed inother units, lessons, or subject areas.

3) Sense Making Discussion: Figuring things out or making sense of activities. Going deeper, beyond surface answers. May involve challenge,debate, or argument in which students justify their ideas. May involve revision of previous ideas as students learn new information that calls into question the limitations of what they “knew” previously.

        This lesson the last of a unit on cellular transport processes with specific reference to alcohol transport and its impact, allows students address science in a social context (specifically via synthesizing discussion) while further developing their knowledge bases on the impacts of alcohol on the brain.  

Lesson Preparations:

 In the effort to prepare for this lesson, I make certain that I have the following items in place: 

a) A class set of Alcohol Alert Papers

Common Core and NGSS Standards:

SL.11-12.1-Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data.

Standards Rationale:

     Science is a social process. It is one that involves specific ways of talking, reasoning, observing, analyzing, and writing, which often have meaning only when shared within the scientific community. Discussions are one of the best ways to help students learn to “talk science” and construct understanding in a social context. It aids in their abilities to merge their worlds of personal experiences and classroom experiences to fully understand the ever evolving science around them. In this lesson, discussion is used in concert with other science practices (analyzing and interpreting data in the classroom to promote students’ reasoning and understanding of core science ideas presented (explaining the physical impact of alcohol on the body).

Engage

15 minutes

Section Instructional Sequence:

        In this section of the lesson, my goals are to introduce the overview of the bulletin to students and to use the overview to motivate students to set individual content/information goals for themselves as a result. This activity proceeds as follows:

a) Slide 1: State "Today, we are going to read a bulletin that will extend our understanding on the long term impact of heavy alcohol consumption on the brain." Let's first see what we can infer from our current knowledge and the MRI presented on the screen. Discuss for 5 minutes. 

b) Slide 2: Provide each student with a copy of the Alcohol Alert Paper and share that we are going to use a combination of our personal experiences and video to relate to the information in the article. We will begin by making personal goals for our reading and discussion experiences using the abstract as our preview. Advance the first bullet on the screen and using the popcorn reading strategy, read this part as a class. 

c) Post-reading, ask students to highlight statements or to record in the margins, areas of the abstract that they interested in knowing more about. Share out on specific interests for 3 or so minutes.

Standard Covered: 

SL.11-12.1-Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Explore

45 minutes

Section Instructional Sequence:

        In this section of the lesson, my goal is engage students in meaningful discourse about alcohol's impact on the brain and the factors that influence the degree of impact. The idea is to access students' learning experiences from lessons 1-4 of the cellular transport unit to explain and apply to some of the phenomenon that they will experience in the article. This activity proceeds as follows:

Advance bullets on the screen and using the popcorn reading strategy (specifically among those students who expressed interest in this part of the article), read the following parts of the article aloud and complete the corresponding tasks:

Slide 3: Blackouts and Memory Lapses (5-8 minutes)

 1) Instruct students to highlight areas that they think they can explain using the concepts learned within this unit. Allow at least one student to share out on the experience.

2) Discuss: How we statistically know that social drinkers are more common victims of blackouts.    

Slide 4: Are Women More Vulnerable to Alcohol's Effects on the Brain?: (3-5 minutes)

1) Advance the next bullet on the screen and using the popcorn reading strategy (specifically among those students who expressed interest in this part of the article), read this part of the article aloud.

2) Instruct students to highlight areas that they think they can explain using the concepts learned within this unit. Allow at least one student to share out on the experience.

3) Show the video clip: Alcohol Metabolism Gender

4) Discuss connections between video, students prior knowledge and article reading.

Slide 5: Brain Damage From Other Causes (10 minutes)

1) Advance the next bullet on the screen and using the popcorn reading strategy (specifically among those students who expressed interest in this part of the article), read this part of the article aloud.

2) Instruct students to highlight areas that they think they can explain using the concepts learned within this unit. Allow at least one student to share out on the experience.  

3) Show the video clip: Importance of Thiamine

4) Discuss connections between video, students prior knowledge and article reading.

Slide 6: Liver Disease (5-8 minutes)

1) Advance the next bullet on the screen and using the popcorn reading strategy (specifically among those students who expressed interest in this part of the article), read this part of the article aloud.  

2) Instruct students to highlight areas that they think they can explain using the concepts learned within this unit. Allow at least one student to share out on the experience.  

3) Discuss connections between students prior knowledge and article reading.

Slide 7: Alcohol and The Developing Brain (5-8 minutes)

1) Advance the next bullet on the screen and using the popcorn reading strategy (specifically among those students who expressed interest in this part of the article), read this part of the article aloud.  

2) Instruct students to highlight areas that they think they can explain using the concepts learned within this unit. Allow at least one student to share out on the experience.  

3) Discuss connections between students prior knowledge and article reading.

Standard Covered: 

SL.11-12.1-Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Explain

10 minutes

Section Instructional Sequence:

          In this section of the lesson, my goal is to engage students in meaningful discourse about how we as a scientific community are able to gather visual and quantitative data about our delicate brains and to connect this information to relevant anatomical and physiological processes of and in the brain that impact the outcome of these technologies. This activity proceeds as follows:

Slide 8: Using High-Tech Tools to Assess Alcoholic Brain Damage

1) Advance the next bullet on the screen and using the popcorn reading strategy (specifically among those students who expressed interest in this part of the article), read this part of the article aloud.  

2) Discuss how each technology presented aided in the data disseminated in the article  and what anatomical and/or physiological features of brain are capitalized upon for the technology to work. (eg. diffusion of molecules into the brain for PET Scans, understanding the significance of white and gray matter, etc.). Essentially, we want to explain how and why we know what we know.

Standards Covered: 

SL.11-12.1-Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data.

Extend

10 minutes

Section Instructional Sequence:

          In this section of the lesson, my goal is to engage students in meaningful discourse about how Stem cell advancements may aid in neuroscientists's quest to repair damage sustained by chronic alcohol consumption. This activity proceeds as follows:

Slide 8: Growing New Brain Cells

1) Advance the next bullet on the screen and using the popcorn reading strategy (specifically among those students who expressed interest in this part of the article), read this part of the article aloud.  

2) Instruct students to highlight areas that they think they can explain using the concepts learned within this unit. Allow at least one student to share out on the experience.  

3) Instruct students to propose other potential means to repair brain damage caused by alcohol. Share out to the class. 

Standard Covered: 

SL.11-12.1-Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Evaluate

10 minutes

Slide 9:  In order to assess how well students internalized the article's content, I prepare the articles to exclude the summary content and instruct for students to produce and submit a summary for the article's main points (1 paragraph minimum).

 Standards Covered: 

SL.11-12.1-Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data. 

Unit Assessment Connections and Images

       At the conclusion of this unit, students were offered options for a formal assessment; a traditional written test or an in class (90 minute) project. The project (task description attached) challenged students to distill information from the unit including content gained/reviewed in this article discussion lesson (See student products: Alcohol 1- 3) in the form of a public health bulletin. The goal, in addition to assessing students knowledge bases was to provide them with a conduit to a potential career option as a Public Health Official whose job in part is to understand how environmental items impact human health, both brain and body.