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 students will be able to:
I hope you get some value from my work!
In broad terms, this lesson series is my attempt to dispel certain misconceptions that frequently swirl around the topic of evolution like smoke circulates the fire from which it emanates. In either case, the true nature of the main issue is likely to be obscured. It is no small or trivial matter therefore to address these challenges. But if done thoughtfully and executed well a degree of clarity can be achieved before delving into the business of unpacking this topic more fully.
Teaching Challenge: How can I develop my students' ability to apply unifying ideas to make connections across science content?
Teaching Challenge: How do I support students to develop and use scientific models?
Teaching Challenge: How can I increase/improve my students' use of appropriate and precise science vocabulary?
1) Quick Write: “I can explain the relationship between data, hypotheses, theories, and laws.” Taking the next 5 minutes please use the index card provided in order to define or describe each underlined term and explain how they might be connected to each other.
2) Self-Assessment (Initial): Prompt students to evaluate how well they understand the Quick Write goal.
A: I am ABLE to do this B: I am BEGINNING to get this C: I still CAN’T do this
According to the book Research-Based Strategies, author Ruby Payne, Ph.D. writes, "To translate the concrete to the abstract, the mind needs to hold the information in a mental model...that can be a two-dimensional visual representation, a story, a metaphor, or an analogy." (p. 57)
I posit that the reverse is also true; that the abstract can be illustrated in a concrete fashion. Dr. Payne further writes, "When mental models are directly taught, abstract information can be learned much more quickly and retained because the mind has a way to contain it or hold it." (ibid)
She then explains how (for example) a "blueprint is the translator between the (abstract) words used convey what the (concrete) finished house will be". So in light of these sage words, I plan to link the idea of house construction (concrete) to the formulation of scientific theories (abstract). The net effect of this is to give my students a tangible concept to evaluate the nature of theories and the relative strengths of past and present ones.
Teaching Challenge: How can I develop my students' ability to apply unifying ideas to make connections across science content? The unifying theme of theories spans across all disciplines. Moreover, the Theory of Natural Selection draws upon geology, biochemistry, paleontology, genetics, etc.
Teaching Challenge: How do I support students to develop and use scientific models? Likening an abstract concept (theory) to the concrete example of houses helps convey that houses, like theories, are built along a spectrum of structural integrity.
Teaching Challenge: How can I increase/improve my students' use of appropriate and precise science vocabulary? Terms like hypothesis, data, theory, and law are too often misunderstood and misused in both casual and formal contexts. There are some science teachers who cannot properly distinguish among these so this is an opportune topic.
1) Story Time!
A pigs' paradise! No Big Bad Wolf and no construction work to do!
Photo credit: https://orig07.deviantart.net/3df8/f/2013/082/5/a/the_three_little_pigs_by_ghyse-d5yyucp.jpg
2) Lecture and Discussion
Debrief: Provide these prompts to students and either randomly call on two or three or solicit student responses.
“Today I learned that __________.“
“One thing that surprised me was _________.”
“I still don’t understand _________.”
(Continue to Day #2...)