Natural Selection in the Wild- Assessment
Lesson 7 of 8
Objective: Students will make connections and show what they have learned about natural selection in the wild.
Purpose of Lesson:
This purpose of this lesson is to assess student understanding of natural adaptations; how they develop and how they help animals and plants survive.
Major Strategies to Watch for:
1) Interactive animated power point review- This is a chance for students to review concepts, make new connections, and gain a stronger understanding of the concepts.
2) Test and Master Key- This Master key grading system can give an instructor just the right information for reteaching.
Learning Goal: Synthesize our learning about adaptations and natural selection.
Opening Question: Write your OWN definition for the word ADAPTATION.
Today I have the students enter their definitions into a Google form. This allows us to instantly see all of the definitions from the class. I then have groups of students pick the "best" definition and justify their choice. This is a great way to add engagement, accountability, and rigor to the class! Students can use computers or phones to input their answers! In this video I demonstrate how to set up a Google form.
Students record their opening question on their learning goal sheet and are ready to start class 3 min after the bell has rung. I reward students who get started early with ROCK STAR SCIENTIST tickets.
The 25 Animals With Insane Survival Adaptations video to watch just for fun. On test days, I don't like to add any new information to the mix but simply use videos and presentations to reinforce the student learning already done during the mini-unit.
When the video is done, I ask students to share with their partners which adaptations they enjoyed hearing about the most.
On the day of any summative assessment, I like to take the time to wrap-up my instruction by using an animated interactive power point review. The purpose of the review is to give the students one more look at the content this time at a global perspective so that students can make connections and solidify their understanding.
In this review I want to focus students on some of the main ideas.
1) The way we use the word adaptation often gives us misconceptions.
2) Organisms that live in extreme environments often have extreme adaptations.
3) Adaptations become more common over time through natural selection as animals with the best traits live and reproduce.
For me, there are two important instructional aspects of the power point. First, I set it up to be interactive with several processing slides within the presentation so that students can hear thoughts from their peers as well as me.
Second, I use animation techniques in the powerpoint to capture student attention, include non-verbal visual cues, and allow for storytelling. Making animated powerpoints can be time consuming and tricky, but I love it and find it well worth the time.
Below are several screenshots of how to do different animations. Once you have the skills, the rest is up to your imagination!
Making basic entrance and exit animations
Using animations to tell a story
Adding in movement lines
I try hard to make test days still be learning days. For one thing, I no longer have the time to simply give a test the whole period! We have way too much content to cover. Also, I don't want to the students to get a lopsided view of learning. Assessment isn't something we do at the end...it's something we do all along the way. Also, no matter what kind of assessment we are doing, it is still the learning that is the most important. This means that most times my tests only take 15-20 min of class time. If you do continual formative assessment along the way and have a reteaching plan, the actual test doesn't need to be that long.
I'm using a new method of making and organizing my tests to make data analysis easier and quicker. Below is a video of some of the new tools I am using. I'm also attaching the master key that I use when grading to make decisions about the reteaching process the day after the test.
Closing Statement: This unit has been about looking at real adaptations in the wild. I find that reality is way more interesting and amazing than anything we could invent.
Closing Question: How do these incredible adaptations develop in a species?
Closure depends greatly on timing and is not as easy to plan in advance as opening. You can find more information about how I manage closure here.