Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding DESIGN LAB: Nitrogen (2 of 4) - Section 4: EXPLAIN: Jigsaw reading


This lesson formally introduces the nitrogen cycle and specialized vocabulary necessary to understand this cycle.  It follows a general introduction to biogeochemical cycles.  As such, students develop a basic conceptual framework before learning discipline-specific vocabulary.  This sequence assumes that the basic conceptual framework is like a "mental coat rack."  Students have conceptual hooks such as nitrogen must change form before it cycle and humans can impact the nitrogen cycle but nothing yet to "hang" on these hooks.  Vocabulary (and the details that define terms) are the "coats."  "I know that nitrogen has to be like baked or something before it can be used by living thing" creates a cognitive hook for the idea of fixation.  During this jigsaw student groups should express the "oh that's what this is called" feeling while developing presentations.  They have just "hung up their coats."

  FLIPPED assignment as cognitive hook builders
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: FLIPPED assignment as cognitive hook builders
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DESIGN LAB: Nitrogen (2 of 4)

Unit 5: Food (biosphere and geosphere)
Lesson 16 of 24

Objective: Students will be able to 1) trace the movement of nitrogen through the nitrogen cycle; 2) define key vocabulary terms used to describe the nitrogen cycle; 3) describe how humans influence the nitrogen cycle.

Big Idea: A functional nitrogen cycle is an essential part of healthy agricultural systems. How might we use models to help us understand how the nitrogen cycle becomes disrupted and what might be done to prevent disruption?

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design lab nitrogen
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