Reflection: Natural Selection: Simulating Kettlewell's Famous Peppered Moth Experiment - Section 1: Notes for the Teacher


Over the years, my approach to slide presentations has changed.  I first began to use them as our school site administrators made it clear that they wanted us to incorporate that program into our daily lessons rather than continue to use the chalkboard for notes.  And as our school began to incorporate teacher website capabilities, slide presentations made even more sense because they were accessible to students and families in ways that could be helpful to them for test review or make up work.  

However, over the years, I have noticed that even as my ability to create effective slide shows grew, that students' abilities to use them as a learning tool in class decreased.  Instead of using the slide information to prompt questions or as a self-check for comprehension, students simply scrambled to copy down each and every word as they flashed up on our screen during lecture sessions.  I knew I needed to shift gears.

Over the past few years, I have dramatically shifted my use of slide presentations.  For each unit, I create a comprehensive Powerpoint slide presentation and I post them online.  I reference them in class, but I typically only display an average of 5 slides for each unit.  I choose them based upon what I feel are the most 'big picture' items necessary for student comprehension or because a specific slide highlights a student generated question or clarification need.  In this way, I keep the focus primarily on discussion and sketches and other visual representations I draw in real time on the white board, while using the slide presentation as a reference point for specific concepts as we learn together in class.  Students use the presentations at home to review and affirm their understanding of content based upon our class discussions and activities, and they specifically report to me that they use them as a self-review before exams.  

Although each student has access to our class websites, I don't like to assume students have internet access at home and so I keep printed copies in the classroom for student use during activities, labs, discussions, and review sessions.  If a student can check email on their personal devices but have issues accessing the site at home, I will send them a copy to their email address.   Since making these adjustments, I feel that the slide presentations have become truly useful to students and they tell me that they are specifically helpful at home for exam preparation and review.

I'd love to hear more about how you use slide presentations both in class sessions and for student personal use!

  Using Slide Presentations Effectively for Enhanced Student Understanding
  Using Slide Presentations Effectively for Enhanced Student Understanding
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Natural Selection: Simulating Kettlewell's Famous Peppered Moth Experiment

Unit 8: Unit 8: Evolution & Biological Diversity
Lesson 4 of 11

Objective: SWBAT connect Kettlewell's peppered moth experiment to the concepts of natural selection and evolution.

Big Idea: Get your students collecting and analyzing their own natural selection data with this peppered moth experiment simulation!

  Print Lesson
10 teachers like this lesson
Science, Evolution, natural selection (Evolution), variation (Evolution), Graphing, Life Science/Biology, adaptation, phenotype, Darwin, directional selection, Kettlewell
  50 minutes
peppered moth placeholder
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