Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Introducing the Process of Protein Synthesis - Section 4: The Classroom Flow: Turning it Over to Students for Deeper Exploration


I have been using sketches for both summative and formative assessment activities in a much more intentional way over the past two years in our biology classroom.  Overall, I feel that they are especially useful for formative assessment opportunities for me as the person in the room determining instructional strategies, differentiation, and pacing but also for students as learners attempting to grow their self-directed learning skills.  

By keeping most of our visual work at the formative level, I am able to take away some of the stress that comes from the idea of a finished piece of artwork that will be judged by how beautiful it is and put the emphasis on thinking about an idea loosely so that we can all view a student's thoughts and then start to make connections, correct misconceptions, add in scientific terminology as an additional expert level of performance, and admire each other's unique approaches to thinking about the same concept.

I also see formative visual work as a great pre-writing activity where students who are not yet intuitive writers can unpack what they have in their brain, lay it out to discuss and rearrange and eventually create a polished piece of written work.  In this case, later in the unit we use these graphic representations of protein synthesis to generate conclusion statements about our understanding of the purpose and sequence of events in protein synthesis.  I have also noticed that my strong writers also benefit from this very different, non-linear approach to writing.  Being able to be flexible in our thinking and our representations of understanding benefits everyone and working in pairs to create these works encourages students to consider alternate ways of viewing, understanding, and expressing their knowledge and questions.

  Visual Models as Formative Assessments
  Adjustments to Practice: Visual Models as Formative Assessments
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Introducing the Process of Protein Synthesis

Unit 7: Unit 7: DNA & Protein Synthesis
Lesson 17 of 22

Objective: SWBAT to identify the major steps of protein synthesis: transcription, RNA processing, and translation, and the levels of protein processing

Big Idea: Use video animations and student generated drawings to help your students connect their understanding of DNA to unpack the complex process of protein synthesis!

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