Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Pocket Mouse Example - Natural Selection - Section 2: Activity


The original activity instructs students to create a bar graph. This isn't reflective of the expectations of the Common Core Math Standards, which would have the students analyze the purpose and meaning of the data to determine which type of graph is most appropriate.

I have my students use the cheat sheet they created at the beginning of the year during our lesson on graphing. However, even with this resource it is worth taking the time to walk students through the purpose of making the graph as it helps them make better decisions as they set up the graph.

I make sure to tell the students that the purpose of the graph is to determine if they have the illustrations from the warm-up in the proper sequence and if they do there will be a clear pattern to their graphs. This helps students identify that the sequence falls on the x axis (oldest, second, third, most recent) and the number of mice is the y axis. The students that end up with graphs that have no distinct pattern either have the sequence wrong or they put the wrong information on the x axis.  

If I notice a student putting the wrong information on the x axis, I do not tell them they are wrong, but I do ask them to explain why they are making that decision. More often than not, they have no reason, they were just making a guess. When I restate the purpose for the graph and ask them is setting up the graph in this manner will help them answer that question, they usually identify a better set up. If not, I allow them to make the graph and then discuss the pattern (or rather lack of pattern). While this takes some time, it is better to allow students to recognize errors on their own versus telling them what to do.

  Identifying the Purpose of the Graph
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: Identifying the Purpose of the Graph
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Pocket Mouse Example - Natural Selection

Unit 7: Factors That Drive Evolution
Lesson 4 of 14

Objective: SWBAT analyze and organize data to develop an explanation on how variation, selection and time drive the evolution of species.

Big Idea: Students use mathematical representations to support conclusions as they learn about how natural selection affected the pocket mouse population of the southwestern United States.

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Science, natural selection (Evolution), Evolution, ecosystem, adaptation, natural selection
  50 minutes
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