Reflection: Staircase of Complexity Osmosis and Diffusion in Animal Cells - Section 2: Independent Investigation


This activity can also be done in a group setting. Before I begin the demonstration or students begin the investigation, I show students an image of an iodine molecule and a cornstarch molecule. I ask them which molecule they think will permeate the selectively permeable membrane. Although the iodine molecule is clearly fewer in atoms, often images show it bigger than cornstarch. However, that is not the case. Most of my students pick the cornstarch molecule and then are frustrated when they are wrong.

I don't correct them, I offer them a chance to ask questions before they select which molecule they think will move through the membrane. I write their names on the board and they may not change their choice. 

After the investigation, we debrief their choices. I remind students that, as scientists, they need to ask questions to clarify their thinking, before making inferences. This is the perfect example of asking clarifying questions. It was only during the investigation that one of my students asked about the size of each of the images.

I don't do this to trip students up, but to assess their critical-thinking skills and their ability to question before making inferences. This particular example is a low-risk way to learn from their mistakes, and is valuable for future thinking.

  Assisting students in their understanding
  Staircase of Complexity: Assisting students in their understanding
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Osmosis and Diffusion in Animal Cells

Unit 2: Animals Are Structures Too
Lesson 9 of 10

Objective: Students will understand that cells process information chemically through osmosis and diffusion through cell and cell structure membranes.

Big Idea: Students will get a big picture of microscopic processes that occur in cell function.

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3 teachers like this lesson
Science, diffusion, Osmosis, Selectively Permeable Membrane, structures, scientific drawing, animal, bone, cell
  57 minutes
egg head
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