To put Gregor Mendel and his experiments in context and present him as an actual person, I show the Gregor Mendel - My Favourite (British spelling) Scientist video.
Once concluded, I tell the students that today we will follow in Mendel's footsteps, as we explore his ideas.
For this lesson I use the Classical Genetics module from "DNA Learning Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory". In order to make sure that students take appropriate notes I created a Guided Notes sheet.
By completing this activity and writing down their answers, students are engaged in argument from evidence (SP7) and obtaining information (SP8). The understanding of the patterns of inheritance identified by Mendel and explained in the module emphasize the concept that patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships (CCC Patterns).
I prefer to let the students complete this work at their own pace (SW Mendelian Genetics Guided Notes), intervening to move things along if a student or group gets stuck on a section. However, if I notice that a bigger portion of the class starts lagging, I intervene to present the animations and concepts as a whole class presentation.
As you can see in this video, the students are still tentative in expressing the ideas. The concepts and vocabulary are new, and they will need more practice in order to become more confident in their conversations.
Today, students will not have time to add words to their concept maps. However, I ask them to write down the words/concepts that they learned today and should be included in their concept maps, with the understanding that at the start of class the next day they will add them (with linking phrases) to their concept maps.