Reflection: Relevance You Are What You Eat: Food, Biomolecules, and the Carbon Cycle - Section 5: Lesson Extension & Follow-Up Activities


The teaching challenge that I anticipated for this lesson focused on: Use evidence collected to develop a claim and compose an evidence-based argument.

In this case, I felt it reasonable to expect my students to collect nutrition facts and notice that all biomolecules are made primarily of a handful of elements (C, H, N, O, P, S, for short). Then, looking at a carbon cycle diagram, students should have been able to predict the various effects were any single carbon transfer disrupted.

This prediction then would be the argument and the evidence used would come from the information in Part 2 ("You Are What You Eat") and Part 3 ("Biomolecules") to support their claims (arguments). This skill is not confined to just science (via NGSS) but also is central to Math and ELA (according the the Common Core standards). 

As can be seen in the work sample from Student 4.0, she initially self-assessed her proficiency (with respect to the goals) as "able to do the task" (A) in two of three areas and afterward had rated herself as (A) in all three areas. You will notice that she exceeded the expectation in Parts 2 (Nutrition Compare and Contrast) and 3 (Biomolecule coloring activity).

In particular, I looked most closely at her Exit Task. In doing so, her argument was that "If there was a disruption in the system, then everything would get thrown off."  You will see that she cited four evidences (I made check marks to keep track) from both the carbon cycle diagram and Part 2 and noted that "every biomolecule has carbon, all of our food..."

Separately, you will see that the Exit Task produced by Student 3.5 very nearly equals the quality of the previous student. The only lacking factor was that the evidence chosen to support his argument ("If there was a disruption in the cycle of carbon alot (sic) of things would fall apart") was vague. As can be seen, my remark to him was to explain more clearly the bigger picture related to the cow that he referenced in his response.   

A last artifact from Student 1.5 represents a student who still has work to do in order to show that he can meet the three learning goals. In particular, he makes an argument ("Carbon helps everything because carbon goes into the trees...") but fails to cite specific evidence from any part of the activity. His pre- and post-assessment marks indicate that he started and ended at the same level (C) ("I still can't do this'). I wonder how he will choose to revise his work; oh yes, he WILL revise it!

  Relevance: Carbon here, carbon there, carbon everywhere!
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You Are What You Eat: Food, Biomolecules, and the Carbon Cycle

Unit 2: 2) Cells ("Form and Function")
Lesson 1 of 20

Objective: SWBAT describe that cells build large molecules required for cell functions and that large molecules in food are broken down into smaller molecules by cells to provide energy or building blocks.

Big Idea: Cells and organisms must exchange matter with the environment. Carbon moves from the environment to organisms in order to build carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, and/or fats.

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Science, biomolecules, cells, form vs. function, Data Analysis & Interpretation, Communicating Information, Patterns (Science), Systems and System Models, structure and function
  55 minutes
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