Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Cell Division Gone Wrong: An Introduction to Cancer - Section 4: The Classroom Flow: Student Group Discussion and Writing for Understanding


I tend to shy away from lecture formats in our classroom.  When I do need to do this type of one-sided direct instruction, I limit my time to 15  minutes or less.  This lesson, however, is an exception to my rule. Although I have tried other student-driven formats for delivering this basic information about how cancer cells operate and their subsequent impact on our bodies, but I keep coming back to this traditional form.  I reflected on it again this year and asked students for their thoughts too and here is what we came up with:

  • Cancer is complicated topic that students have almost no prior experience with at the molecular level; they are grateful for teacher guidance and expertise as they get introduced to the characteristics of cancer cells and how they differ from normal cells.
  • Cancer is a potentially heavy topic that could actually trigger a student who might be experiencing something at home related to cancer that they haven't really shared at school.  Having the teacher in charge of that conversation feels safer and better since she can look for, adjust, and handle whatever might come up.
  • Because the lecture was delivered more like a talk with very few long definitions and lots of quick, basic drawings, the material felt easier than it actually is.
  • Cancer is something kids are interested in and that alone makes them want to pay attention.

Under what circumstances do you use lecture sessions with your students?  How do you navigate that delicate balance between students as concept inquirers and teachers as concept deliverers?  I'd love to hear the strategies you use to keep lecture sessions relevant and useful to students as a learning strategy.  I'm also curious what replacements you have found work best.

  A Rare Lecture Style Lesson!
  Adjustments to Practice: A Rare Lecture Style Lesson!
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Cell Division Gone Wrong: An Introduction to Cancer

Unit 6: Unit 6: The Cellular Basis of Inheritance: Mitosis & Meiosis
Lesson 3 of 8

Objective: SWBAT to compare cancer cells to normal cells and relate cancer to the cell cycle and the cell division processes of mitosis and meiosis

Big Idea: Relate cell division to student life and prior knowledge in this engaging discussion about the unique properties of cancerous cells.

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18 teachers like this lesson
Science, Cells and Cellular Processes, cancer, cell cycle, cell division, Chromosomes, Life Science/Biology, mitosis and meiosis
  50 minutes
cancer cell cover image
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