Reflection: Trust and Respect pHun with Phenolphthalein - Section 6: Closure: Defining the Crosscutting Concepts and Making Connections


Breaking down challenging vocabulary and making connections to crosscutting themes in a lab will put your students outside of their comfort zone.  There will be moments of silence and doubt.  There will be students mispronouncing words as they read.  There will be students that are unsure about sharing with the group because there is not one correct answer.  In order for this to be successful, students need to feel that they are in a community of learners working together to reach a goal.  Every member of the group needs to feel as if their question or misconception can actually still serve to help the group's purpose.  Students need to feel validated that if they don't understand and simply share what they are thinking or are stuck on, that they are still valuable members of the group.  They need to be able to mispronounce words without fear of being ridiculed.  They need to feel there is a culture of respect, trust, and risk taking.

I have found that stopping the class 2 minutes into your first attempt at this to address these expectations is helpful.  After the first two minutes, students will feel it.  They will feel that uncomfortable feeling of challenge and uncertainty.  Stop the class and have everyone connect to that feeling.  Make it obvious that they are all in it together and going through the same things.  Encourage them to share their struggles and to think out loud as that will help the group be successful.  And, I always tell them that the uncomfortable feeling in their stomachs means that they are on the verge of something awesome.  They are on the verge of science learning they haven't done before.  And that is exciting!  Your enthusiasm for their connections and critical thinking will be contagious.  Middle school students love a challenge, and, I have found that they always rise to the occasion if they are provided with an environment of trust and respect (and a little inspiration and enthusiasm from you)!

  Critical Thinking Requires a Culture Of Trust and Respect
  Trust and Respect: Critical Thinking Requires a Culture Of Trust and Respect
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pHun with Phenolphthalein

Unit 7: Cells: Structure, Function, and Processes
Lesson 12 of 12

Objective: Students will be able to recognize the relationship between structure and function in living things.

Big Idea: Students dip agar containing phenolphthalein into ammonia revealing hot pink diffusion! Using these colorful cubes students can investigate how surface area to volume ratio affects diffusion in cells!

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12 teachers like this lesson
Science, Cells and Cellular Processes, diffusion, cells, cell function, cellular respiration, plant cells, cell membrane, middle school, pH indicator, transport, surface area to volume ratio, structure and function , microscope
  90 minutes
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