Lesson 21

Using StopMotion Video to Explore Protein Synthesis (Day 2 of 3)

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SWBAT explain the three phases of protein synthesis (transcription, RNA processing, and translation) and protein processing by creating videos to describe the process.

Big Idea

Keep your kids engaged in learning the complex process of protein synthesis using this StopMotion video creation activity!

Notes for the Teacher

This is a three day lesson series that allows students the opportunity to teach protein synthesis through an StopMotion video app on our school issued iPads.  This could also be done in a more tradition video format that students most likely have access on their personal devices.  

On Day 1, student groups brainstorm their video, choose materials, assign roles, and investigate the app.

Standards: SL.9-10.1SL.9-10.4SL.9-10.5RST.9-10.2RST.9-10.3RST.9-10.4HS-LS1-1HS-LS3-1SP1SP2SP8XC-P-HS-1XC-SF-HS-2XC-SC-HS-1

On Day 2, students work together to film their videos.

Standards: SL.9-10.1SL.9-10.1aSL.9-10.4SL.9-10.5RST.9-10.2RST.9-10.3RST.9-10.4HS-LS1-1HS-LS3-1SP1SP2SP8XC-P-HS-1XC-SF-HS-2XC-SC-HS-1

On Day 3, students view each other's videos and complete a peer evaluation for each other's work.

Standards: W.9-10.2fSL.9-10.1SL.9-10.4SL.9-10.5RST.9-10.2RST.9-10.3RST.9-10.4HS-LS1-1HS-LS3-1SP1SP2SP8XC-P-HS-1XC-SF-HS-2XC-SC-HS-1

Students are incredibly engaged throughout the process and often arrange to come in during lunch multiple times in order to create the video they envisioned in our brainstorming session.  They are proud to show their unique way of showing the process of protein synthesis and protein processing and are supportive of each other's approaches during the peer review and large group debrief.  Because this unit involves an abstract, multi-step, complicated process that students typically have never heard of before, I find that this video creation piece really helps to build upon the work we've done through video clips, drawings, and our simulation lab to ensure that every student understands the flow of genetic information and gene expression from start to finish.  

The Classroom Flow: Time to Film!

45 minutes

1.  Ask students to take out their StopMotion Brainstorm document from yesterday's session.

2.  Remind students of the location of our supplies for the video session and the technology check in/out process using our computer sign out sheet.

3. Review our classroom studio session expectations.  

4.  Ask for clarifying questions about their project work.  

  • Note: Students may ask about additional time to work with the class set of iPads outside of class hours.  I always announce and post when the classroom and technology will be available outside of class sessions for the remainder of the week.

4.  Tell students to check out their iPad, collect their materials, and move to their lab tables to get to work!

5.  After you have checked out devices to each student pair, observe and circulate between the lab groups.  

Note: As always, I try to be an observer more than a rescuer during this session.  Most groups will be able to problem solve effectively if given the opportunity.  If a student group seems to be laboring over a small point, I begin to intervene by asking questions that might prompt them to come up with their own solution.  If there are specific tech gurus in the class, I bring them over to the team to discuss logistics related to the app or device.  Some typical prompts I use are:

  • What do you think about using…?
  • What other ways could you show that…?
  • Who is going to be in charge of….?
  • Have you thought about trying….?
  • I'm thinking it might be a good idea to….

6.  As the class session proceeds, listen closely to the content students are drawing, making with materials, or narrating onto their film so that you can intervene with guiding questions or references to content support materials such as the Protein Synthesis Check with sample answers.

7.  As the class session goes on, you will observe many aspects of project design:  

  • Students choosing new/alternate materials to use in their film.
  • Students experimenting with voiceovers and other strategies to highlight important points in the process of protein synthesis.
  • Students discussing next steps within their group and assigning individual group members to specific tasks.
  • Students referring to their notes for guidance on the sequencing of events in protein synthesis.
  • Students asking other groups for technology hacks, work arounds, or strategies.
  • Students coming to you to discuss specific issues their group is experiencing:  how to upload, share, or save their work, the meaning of specific terms, working through brain blocks in terms of next steps in project management, ideas for materials or creative ways to show the next step of the process

Enjoy every bit of what you observe!  Your students are functioning independently on a complex task involving detailed conceptual knowledge and are doing so collaboratively and with focus and energy.  

The Classroom Flow: Preparing for Tomorrow's Film Share

5 minutes

1.  Collect devices and remind students to return materials either to the shared area or, if they are ones specifically created by/for the group, to the labeled class bins.  

2. Remind students when/if the materials and devices will be available outside of class hours.  Be sure to tell them that no matter where they are in the process of video creation now that they need to have their completely finished by our due date.  Let students know that they need to check in with you immediately if issues arise that makes this challenging so that together you can brainstorm ways to make it work.

  • Note: Students typically have finished the first 2-3 phases of protein synthesis and are working on translation or protein folding.  However, even if other groups are not that far along, do not be alarmed!  Some groups take a long time in the initial stages and then fly through the rest.  So long as you have checked in with each group and have a clear sense of their ongoing plan to meet the deadline, the final session will turn out very well.  I have yet to have a group fail to turn in work unexpectedly or with major flaws that require them to redo it for evaluation.  Groups that need extra time ask for it and as a result of that extra time and trusting, respectful negotiation, produce high quality work.

3.  Tell students that they will be sharing their videos and giving feedback on each other's work at our next session.  

  • Note:  For complex projects like this one, I start the lesson series at the end of one week and have the final share out day the following week.  This way, students have a weekend to concentrate on producing quality work if they choose to do so.  One of the groups who chose to work on their own time at home produced this video below using an Australian accent.  No one in the group is from that area but this was how they chose to make their project unique.  One of the things I love most about projects like this is that students can make it their own in any number of ways, which results in a wide variety of work available to use to view, compare, appreciate, and learn from on the last day of this lesson series.
  • Check out one example of a student created protein synthesis stop motion video.  I felt that this project did a good job of outlining the basics of the process using a voiceover and materials that were simple and clear for the viewer.

Now on to Day 3!