Darwin @ the Comics! (#2 of 3)

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson

Objective

1. Students will creatively express (communicate) their understanding (pre-assessment) of Charles Darwin and his theory. 2. Students will understand the various opinions of students regarding The Theory of Natural Selection (aka “evolution”) and suggest reasons for these different points-of-view.

Big Idea

Charles Darwin and his Theory are interpreted in widely different ways by equally different people. Comics can be used to convey these ideas in graphical ways.

Learner Goals

Note: I recommend that you first check out this resource in order to get the most out of this lesson!

In high school I took several drafting classes and, for a while, I had hoped to become an architect. With respect to planning instruction and teaching, I feel that I can still live out the detailed approach to building something intricate and complex even though the product is a lesson rather than a certain "built environment".

The lesson-planning document that I uploaded to this section is a comprehensive overview of how I approach lesson planning. This template includes the "Big Three" aspects of the NGSS standards: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science Practices. Of course, there are many other worthy learning goals, skills, instructional strategies, and assessments that can be integrated into a class session. I don't feel compelled to check every box but, rather, use it as a guide to consider various options and tailor the lesson in light of these.

With regard to this particular lesson...

1. students will creatively express (communicate) their understanding (pre-assessment) of Charles Darwin and his theory.

2. students will understand the various opinions of students regarding The Theory of Natural Selection (aka “evolution”) and suggest reasons for these different points-of-view.


I hope you get some value from my work! 

Anticipatory Set ("Hook")

5 minutes

(Link to Day #1)

Teaching Challenge: How do I support students to persevere and grapple with complex tasks?

Self-Assessment (5-3-1)

5= on track and ready to go; 3= fairly ready but might need help later; 1= I’m stuck!

As the lesson gets rolling, I want to gauge student readiness to move onward and upward. To this end, I use this strategy to identify students who need my immediate attention (1) and those with whom I can conference later (3s then 5).

In my experience, the process of brainstorming (in and of itself) is daunting for most people (young and old alike). Writer's block has foiled many an author. Just ask Maya Angelou! So, while not perfect at this, I try to spend time just probing what students think about natural selection (even though they typically use the term 'evolution').

Then I probe what kind of sense of humor the student has and whether they want to poke fun at evolutionists or creationists or are some other "antagonist". Then I try to get them to think of the conclusion or punch line that they want to let resonate with their audience. Then, working backward, what details do they need to provide to help the reader connect the dots to the end? I'm sure that each of us has been left scratching our proverbial heads when a joke or story lacks something that causes it to fall flat on its face. In this sense, practicing the art of making sense of an idea is crucial here.

This lesson series as well as this lesson section is tied to the teaching framework explained by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. It begins by meeting students where they are, trying to know them as individuals and learners, and assessing what the first step is in order to determine the next logical steps.

At this point, I make no prejudicial comments or evaluative remarks pertaining to the storyline, content, or particular point-of-view that a student has. As we travel further along the journey of this topic students will grapple with their conceptions and misconceptions, culminating with a concluding self-assessment of their comics at unit's end.

Instructional Input/Student Activities

45 minutes

Teaching Challenge: How do I support students to persevere and grapple with complex tasks?

Independent Work: The goal for today is to complete the final draft of their comic strip. Today is a challenging day for students, especially those who feel patently non-artistic or have a really tough time getting started. As described in the previous section, much of my time is spent throughout class conferencing with each and every student; some are quickly on their way (the "5"s) and it is simply a quick check in to determine their plan.

Whereas with others I might spend one minute providing clarification (the "3"s) and with others ("1"s) a longer period of time probing their thinking and providing possible starting points.

Brainstorming is very non-linear and challenging! Typically, this type of work generates lots of conversation and high energy levels so be prepared! As for me, I love sensing and directing (in a few cases) the work flow. I'm sure I am the only teacher to have to shape and influence the flow of energy in an active classroom. Yeah, right.

As a reminder to students, I encourage them to examine the Darwin Comic Strip rubric for this assignment to make sure that they are checking all the boxes (or as the Brits say, "ticking the boxes").

Closure: What did we learn? Where do we go from here?

5 minutes

Self-Assessment (5-3-1)- 5= 100% complete; 3= 70% complete; 1= the rocket’s barely off the ground

Building off of how I use one form of self-assessment (5-3-1) described in the Anticipatory Hook section, I will now cycle back to it to determine the relative level of completion for each student.

In light of tomorrow’s due date, I want to gauge student preparation. To this end, I know who might need extra encouragement and motivation (the 3s and 1s) as well as congratulate those students who are done early (5s). At the end of the day, the show must go on and the due date is fixed however.

(Link to Day #3)

Lesson Extension & Follow-Up Activities

Homework: For students who haven't finished, homework is to complete final draft of the comic strip.