Reflection: Adjustments to Practice A Bioethics Question: DNA Information and Society (Day 1 of 2) - Section 5: The Classroom Flow: Preparing for Tomorrow's Activity


I am consistently amazed at how willing my students have been this year to stretch themselves by reading text considered way beyond their comprehension level.  Students have shared with me their thoughts about it and I have added some of my own observations to the my short list of reasons to introduce challenging text with our younger underclassman science students:

  • If the topic feels related to the student's live and interests, they are on board to give it a try.
  • If the student feels confident about their level of science knowledge that is covered in the reading, they are more willing to continue when it gets hard.
  • Reading the text in class helps a lot because students feel overwhelmed by the amount of work involving serious focus and concentration they need to do at 9 pm after sports practice and a music lesson before they shower or eat.  In class, they feel like they can actually think about the work instead of rushing through it to check it off the list of things to get done before school starts at 8 am the next day.
  • Students love when reading is assigned that isn't from a textbook because it feels more modern both in writing style and in graphics/visuals. 
  • Having permission to work with partners makes students feel like they are in charge of their time in class and that I trust them to make good decisions.  
  • Getting to use their phones to look up words or other information related to the reading makes school feel like real life where students (and adults) use their phone for every question, always.


For me as a teacher, this list translates to a few things:

1.  Pick topics that are interesting and important to kids.

2.  Use a wide variety of sources, everything from Scientific American to Rolling Stone magazine.

3.  Structure class time for reading experiences and provide the physical tools and skill set modeling/scaffolding individual students need in order to engage and progress.

Do you have any other things to add to my list?  What other ways can we encourage our kids to take a risk and dig deep into challenging text?

  Ways to Support High Level Text Reading for All Students
  Adjustments to Practice: Ways to Support High Level Text Reading for All Students
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A Bioethics Question: DNA Information and Society (Day 1 of 2)

Unit 7: Unit 7: DNA & Protein Synthesis
Lesson 15 of 22

Objective: SWBAT connect science technology to ethical and social concerns and defend their point of view using evidence and logic.

Big Idea: Help students connect science to our community with this engaging two day lesson series on the bioethics of DNA sample collection!

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