Reflection: Accountability Using Molecular Evidence in Classification: the Cytochrome C Lab - Section 3: Student Activity


In this lesson, the majority of the class struggled with the skills they were trying to learn. I conducted some informal student interviews. I also looked at their work to determine where the learning broke down. From the results of the student interviews, it was obvious that two things kept my students from succeeding at this lab. First, they did not completely understand that changes in the DNA sequence led to changes in the amino acid sequence. Either they forgot this concept from middle school science or they did not cover it in their classroom. After checking their pre-test data, it verified what I suspected.  

Next, I questioned several students informally about some of their results and determined they did a poor job counting the differences in the amino acid sequences. After carefully counting two of the amino acid sequences, they "guessed" on the other sequences. In future years, I will more carefully consider my student pairing to ensure that my student pairs will hold each other more accountable. I also rewrote the student handout to provide more scaffolding.  In addition to the scaffolding within the document, I added the portion where students must check in with the teacher before proceeding. This is meant to be a stop gap measure to eliminate any areas where students might have some confusion.   


  What to do when students completely miss the mark.
  Accountability: What to do when students completely miss the mark.
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Using Molecular Evidence in Classification: the Cytochrome C Lab

Unit 1: Phylogeny and Taxonomy
Lesson 5 of 5

Objective: Students will analyze the genetic sequence for cytochrome c from several species to determine phylogenetic relationships.

Big Idea: Ever wondered what you had in common with fish, yeast, dogs, and monkeys? Find out today by analyzing the cytochrome c gene sequence.

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cytochrome c oxidase 1occ in
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