The Most "Important" Lesson: Genetics Poetry

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Objective

SWBAT create a poem that analyzes the "important" characteristics of their selected topic relating to genetics, peer edit their creative writing pieces, and present their creations to the class in a poetry reading.

Big Idea

Even the most reluctant student will shine while bringing their study of genetics to life through the development of an "important" poem to highlight an aspect of heredity.

Hook - The Importance of a Review

5 minutes

Classroom Video: Anticipatory Activity/Bell Question

Students will use the Should This Dog Be Called Spot Handout to review the main concepts of Mendelian genetics.  This activity will encourage students to examine the alleles from each parent dog in an effort to determine the genotype and phenotype of the resulting puppy offspring.  

Students have already been introduced to Mendelian genetics and this lesson will review the terms and concepts in preparation for an upcoming assessment.

Direct Instruction - The Importance of Reading Aloud

5 minutes

Classroom Video: Making Connections

No matter how old we get, reading aloud and being able to listen to a story ignites our imagination to create a magical world that transcends the confines of our real lives.  In an effort to inspire  students to release their science classroom inhibitions and delve into their creative sides, the lesson will begin with a reading from The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown.

This book focuses common objects in a descriptive, unique manner that captivates the reader and encourages them to view these objects in a more appreciative, respectful way.  Margaret Wise Brown uses a simple pattern that allows even the most novice writer to create an intriguing piece of work that highlights the characteristics of common objects.

 

Direction Instruction - The Importance of Brainstorming

10 minutes

Classroom Video: Brain Dump/Peer Share

Classroom Video: Word Wall

Now that the students have listened to the sample "Important" poems, it is their turn to transform their understanding of genetics into descriptive, imaginative literary works of art!  

Each student will receive An Activity Handout that outlines the brainstorming, rough draft, and final editing processes.  

Before the class begins our brainstorming session, it is critical to remind students that this activity is meant to apply their creativity in an effort to maximize their understanding of concrete scientific concepts that have been covered in the Genetics Unit.  This lesson was designed to serve as a review activity for the students before the upcoming unit test, but can be modified to be used as an introduction of a unit to incorporate new vocabulary terms. To use this creative writing lesson as an introduction, the teacher would need to front load the vocabulary terms, assist students in visualizing the context for each term, and provide supporting details to intertwine the words so the overall concept of heredity was evident to the students.

Partner Brainstorming: Students will work with their neighboring partner to list as many topics that are associated with their study of genetics as possible.  Students are not committing to using these terms in their creative writing pieces, but only creating a list of potentiall terms or inspiring topics that they may use to develop their poem.  The students will record their brainstorming ideas onto the appropriate section of their project handout.  

Class Brainstorming: After about minute, each student pair will select a representative to write at least one of their topics, terms, or ideas that was conceived during the brainstorming session on the front board. As a class, the students will have contributed nearly 20 ideas that will come together to create a word wall to serve as inspiration during the creative writing process in the next section.  If students think of additional ideas, they are encouraged to add them to the list in hopes of inspiring their peers.  

The "Important" Poem Template: Once all of the ideas have been recorded, the students are introduced to the very simple template that serves as a guide to develop these "important" poems.  The first step is for students to select their topic and then brainstorm characteristics that are associated with the selected object or process.  The more creative students can be in their brainstorming process, the more successful their poetry writing experience will be.

The important thing about ______________ is _______________.

Really interesting fact #1

Really interesting fact #2

Really interesting fact #3

But the most important about _______________ is ________________.

 Students will record their rough drafts on a separate sheet of paper and staple to their Activity Handout.

Independent Practice - The Importance of Creative Writing

15 minutes

Classroom Video: Student Conferencing- Vocabulary Development

The "Important" Poem Template: Once all of the ideas have been recorded, the students are introduced to the very simple template that serves as a guide to develop these "important" poems.  The first step is for students to select their topic and then brainstorm characteristics that are associated with the selected object or process.  The more creative students can be in their brainstorming process, the more successful their poetry writing experience will be.

The important thing about ______________ is _______________.

Really interesting fact #1

Really interesting fact #2

Really interesting fact #3

But the most important about _______________ is ________________.

Students will be provided time to work independently while creating the rough draft of their poem using the template above.  Students are encouraged to use the word wall that was created on the front board, review lecture notes, and flip through the textbook to select the topic or vocabulary term that inspires their creativity for this writing project.  

Students will record their rough drafts on a separate sheet of paper and staple to their Activity Handout

Guided Practice - The Importance of Peer Editing

20 minutes

Classroom Video: Peer Editing Protocol

Once students have had 15 minutes to create their rough draft of their "Important" poem, they will get in their lab groups of four students each. Accommodations to the peer editing session will be made for groups that do not have 4 students present for this lesson.  Students will sit in clusters/circles so they are easily able to pass papers between group members.  

To begin, students will pass their original creation to the student that is sitting to their left.  To reduce confusion, papers will always be passed to the left throughout the remainder of this activity.

Students will take turns reading each other's creative writing using the following format:

First Peer Edit: Each student will read the poem from the lens of a Biology teacher.  Students will look to identify areas of strength where the author correctly describes the organelle's appearance or role in the cell by marking the line with a star.  The peer editor will also mark statements that are not scientifically sound with a question mark and a number  so the author knows to go and review the content.  Students will write a note at the bottom of the paper that explains the question mark and why the content needs to be corrected or clarified to be more scientifically accurate.  

Example of Peer Edit Notes:

  •  ?#1 - You need to review the definition of an allele.  I do not believe it is used correctly in this line.
  • ?#2 - You need to review the stages of meiosis.  I think you have confused the details inn this line.

After one to two minutes the students will pass their partners' poems one student to the left so all group members have new poems to review, making sure they do not have their own paper.

Second Peer Edit: Each student will read the poem from the lens of an English teacher.  Students will look to identify areas of strength where the author uses personification, imagery, and other literary skills by marking the statement with a star.  The peer editor will also mark statements that are not grammatically correct  or do not meet the standard of poetic excellence with a question mark so the author knows to go and review the content.

Example of Peer Edit Notes:

  • ?#3 - You should review the sample template to make sure you are listing 3 important facts.

After one to two minutes the students will pass their partners' poems one student to the left so all group members have new poems to review, making sure they do not have their own paper.

Third Peer Edit: Each student will read the poem from the lens of fellow Biology student.  Students will look to identify areas of strength where the author captivates the audience and brings the organelle to life by marking the statement with a star.  The peer editor will also mark statements that do not support the personification objective with a question mark so the author knows to go and review the content.

Example of Peer Edit Notes:

  • ?#4 - You should use more imagery in the description to make the poem more interesting.

Student groups will rotate one more time and the original author should receive their paper back again!

Wrapping Up the Peer Edit Session: Students will get a chance to conference with their group members and ask for clarification regarding the feedback on their creative writing pieces.  Authors can make quick notes on their papers and will have time to revise and rewrite their personification poems as homework. 

Student Sample of Important Poem with Peer Editing  - This document demonstrates the peer edits that were made in the small groups to suggest improvements based on the accuracy of science information in the poem, as well as necessary grammar edits. - WILL ADD LATER

 

Close - The Importance of a Final Draft

5 minutes

Classroom Video: Creative Writing in Science

As a close to this activity, the teacher will read their own personal poem that they have written during this lesson to the students: 

The important thing about Biology students is that they make each day interesting.

They bring a new perspective to each lesson.

They work to connect the curriculum to their own lives so it makes sense.

They are willing to try new things in an effort to keep learning.

But the most the important thing about Biology students is that they make each day interesting.

Students will complete their final drafts of their Important Poems as homework.  Student work will be assessed using the established "Important" Poem Rubric