Reflection: Intrinsic Motivation Draw It! Vocabulary Pre-Assessment - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities


How can I develop a classroom culture that encourages student engagement, curiosity, and a desire to understand the world through scientific exploration?

How can I support students' use of appropriate and precise science vocabulary?

Reiterated from the Instructional Input section, student development of "standard scientific explanations of the world-helping them to gain an understanding of the major ideas that science has developed-is a central aspect of science education." Oftentimes, the competing nature of one alternate (and perhaps inferior) version of a concept inhibits learning the true (or better) nature of the intended concept. Bad ideas can just get in the way. Therefore, one of the simplest and most entertaining method for identifying the myriad concepts rolling around in students' heads is to have students "draw it out"!

These excerpts show just what students have in mind when they think of fairly typical concepts encountered in every day life. The challenge is to rightly capture the idea and then, where necessary, to augment and enhance it or supplant it with a more accurate one. Let's take a look...

Concept of variation (Excerpt #1):Differences abound all around us, even in math. Shapes do vary as is the case in just about everything.

Next step: help the student to see the variation in biological terms (macro and micro levels).

Concept of trait (Excerpt #2): Common traits include the physical features of noses, eye shape and color.

Next step: Linking variation and trait will help the student to see the basis of selection according to the Theory of Natural Selection.

Concept of species (Excerpt #3): Species take many forms including horses and foxes (the latter getting a lot of press in 2014-15 with the awesome track, "What does the fox say?").

Next step: helping students to understand the biological basis of a species and how they change within species bounds (microevolution) and how they diverge or converge (macroevolution).

Concept of ancestor (Excerpt #4): Yes, ancestors are old and sometimes they sport beards and chrome domes. Sometimes they are extinct and sometimes they appear in photographs.

Next step: developing the concept of shared common ancestry within and between species lines.



  Intrinsic Motivation: Artists, arise and show your science understandings!
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Draw It! Vocabulary Pre-Assessment

Unit 6: 6) Exploring Change ("The Theory of Natural Selection")
Lesson 4 of 15

Objective: Students will creatively express their interpretation of key concepts that collectively form the Theory of Natural Selection.

Big Idea: The Theory of Natural Selection is both complicated yet simple. Teasing out students' understanding of its key factors is a first big step to explaining how it all works.

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