2Target Audience 8th Grade Science Cavallini Middle School in Upper Saddle River, NJAt Cavallini I teach 5 sections of 8th grade science. Classes are approximately 55 minutes each and I have an average of 20 students per class.
3GoalsStudents will gain a comprehensive understanding of DNA and its relationship to heredity, the cell-division cycle & protein synthesis.This three day DNA lesson is part of our larger three-month genetics unit in which we tie together everything from cellular division to the theory of evolution.
4ObjectivesSWBT: Describe the structure, organization and function of DNA.SWBT: Describe what a genetic mutation is and the differences between substitutions, insertions and deletions.SWBT: Explain how & when the replication process takes place.
5Lesson Overview- Structure & Function Day 1 JumpstartDNASmartExchangeDNA SongThe lesson overview for the first class period is the structure and function of DNA. Every class period always begins with a Jumpstart which is my version of a “do-now” activity. Students have approximately 5 minutes to complete their Jumpstart independently and quietly and afterwards we have a whole-class discussion to review the question. Usually they are review from a previous class or from a previous nights’ homework. For the next chunk of time in the class period we will be completing a DNA SmartExchange which covers all the information that the students need to know in an interactive way. The SmartExchange covers everything from what four bases make up DNA, how and why it is in a double-helix structure, what a mutation is and what the different forms of mutations are and lastly how the DNA replication process occurs. During the SmartExchange students are engaged and participating in the learning at the SmartBoard. Students could be coming up to the SmartBoard and matching up vocabulary words with definitions or matching up the appropriate bases of DNA with each other. When the SmartExchange is complete, the final wrap-up activity of the class is a DNA Song by a Science Teacher who is all over You-Tube by the name of Mr.Parr.
6Lesson Overview- Structure & Function Day 2 JumpstartDNA K’Nex ModelTED Talk- Watson“How we discoveredDNA”For the second day of our DNA lesson, the lesson overview is once again the structure and function of DNA. Once again, the class period begins with a Jumpstart to review previously learned information. After we’ve had a whole-class discussion about the Jumpstart, I then introduce the DNA K’Nex Model. Students break up into 6 groups and each group receives their own DNA K’Nex Model to put together. The student objective is to put together all K’Nex pieces so that the DNA model 1) has a double helix structure 2) Contains all four bases (Adenine, Thymine, Guanine & Cytosine) with appropriate pairs 3) Has at least one of the three main types of mutations.When all groups have completed the requirements, we clean up our K’Nex models and watch a TED talk which is Watson himself talking about “How we discovered DNA.” It is one of the best experiences because it helps to bring science to life for the students and who better to discuss the DNA model than the man who was part of the team to discover it.
7Lesson Overview- Replication & Mutations Day 3 JumpstartDNA DanceDNA GameDNA KnockoutFor the third day of the DNA lesson, our main focus shifts to the replication process and mutations. After the Jumpstart is completed, I distribute DNA Bases necklaces and the students are either Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, or Cytosine and we move class to the hallway. I tell students to line up on either side of the sugar-phosphate backbone (lockers) and we play “Jump On It” by The Sugarhill Gang. When the chorus comes along, students must pair up with an appropriate partner for either a normal replication or mutation. When the song is complete, students then play a DNA game on the Smartboard. Finally, we end the class by playing a game I call Knockout. The students sit on their desks and I place a garbage can in the middle of the room. I ask each student a question and, if they answer it correctly, they have the opportunity to shoot the football into the garbage can.
8Evaluation & Assessment Day 1Day 2Day 3SmartExchangeK’Nex ModelDance & KnockoutWhile the students are completing their daily Jumpstarts, I am circling the room & checking student responses. In addition to evaluating that, each day I have the other forms of evaluation and assessments on the chart.
9Sense & MeaningIn order for effective teaching to take place, the information for the learner must both make sense and have a valuable meaning. When a learners working memory does not fit new information into either or both of these categories, the probability of the information being stored is low. However, when both sense and meaning are present, long-term storage of the memory can most likely be achieved. The information learned during the DNA lesson makes sense for the students because it fits into what the students already know about themselves and their cells. Prior learning is activated when a discussion about the cell division cycle and the different parts of a cell takes place. This occurs before new details about where DNA is located happens. These connections between prior knowledge helps to create meaning and relevance for the students. Also, later on in the genetics unit, prior information learned about DNA is re-visited when we discuss protein synthesis and later dominant and recessive traits for use in Punnett Squares. Thus, both sense and meaning are present for the students to help facilitate long-term learning.
10Primacy/RecencyAttention to primacy and recency times were given attention during all three days of the DNA lesson. Keeping in mind that students tend to retain information the best during prime-time-1 and prime-time-2, those were the times that the majority of the new information was presented. The Jumpstart at the beginning of each class period to review previously learned information takes approximately 5 minutes from the prime-time-1. The major information/activities of the class period are presented and started shortly thereafter. For example, during Day 1 of the DNA lesson it was during the prime-time-1 that the jumpstart and smartexchange on DNA were taking place. During day 2 of the DNA lesson, the K’Nex model of DNA was being built during prime-time-1. Lastly on day 3, the DNA dance which highlighted the new information of replication and mutation was highlighted during those first twenty minutes of class. The approximate ten minutes of down-time is scheduled in each lesson as a practice time for students to continue their work with the new material. For example, during those ten or so minutes of downtime is when the students were playing the DNA smartboard game to practice working with the four DNA bases to help students organize this information for further processing. Lastly, prime-time-2 is being used in each lesson as a “second best” time to review information and give sense and meaning to the information previously learned. For example, during prime-time-2 is when we listed to an informative song on DNA during day 1 and also when we played the review game Knockout during day 3.
11Learning Styles Lecture Performances Hands-On Work Independent Work Taking into account the four leaning styles of abstract sequential, abstract random, concrete sequential and concrete random, I addressed each unique learner in various ways throughout the lessons. For example, the abstract sequential learners who enjoy lecture and the traditional classroom atmosphere, they enjoyed the traditional note-taking activities during the DNA SmartExchange as well as watching the TED talk. The abstract random learners who enjoy having a balance between social activities and work enjoyed the DNA Dance that we did. The concrete sequential learners who love their hands-on activities enjoyed building the DNA K’Nex model. Lastly, the concrete random learners enjoyed their independent work during the daily Jumpstarts.Hands-On WorkIndependent Work
12Multiple Intelligences DNA Song & DanceDNA Dance & KnockoutSmartExchange & SmartBoard GameK’Nex Model & DNA DanceVarious activities throughout the three-day lesson were geared towards the multiple intelligences of the students. For example, the students who prefer learning through music enjoyed the DNA Song as well as the DNA Dance. Those who learn best through kinesthetic means enjoyed playing the review game Knockout as well as the DNA Dance. Students who are more visual learners thrived during the DNA SmartExchange as well as the DNA Smartboard Game. The interpersonal learners enjoyed working with others during the K’Nex Model and DNA Dance. The intrapersonal learners enjoy the daily independent jumpstarts and also the Watson TED Talk. The verbal linguistic learners thrived during the DNA Song while the lyrics were posted throughout as well as the SmartExchange. Lastly, the learners who learn best through logical means enjoyed the K’Nex Model as well as the SmartBoard game.Jumpstart & TED TalkDNA Song & SmartExchangeK’Nex Model & SmartBoard Game
13TechnologyI believe technology to be a vital part of 21st century learning as well as 21st century skills. Some highlights of the technology used in this lesson include the Smartboard for both displays and the much more interactive usage of the DNA SmartExchange as well as the DNA game. My school has undergone a one-to-one initiative and currently all students and teachers have an iPad. Students use their iPads to answer their Jumpstarts at the beginning of each class period. Also, the DNA SmartExchange and the DNA Game were played interactively on the SmartBoard to help further infuse technology into the lesson.
14Neurons & Sensory Input As we learned in class, the neurons communicate with each other at the synapses and these signals move from neuron to neuron to help activate prior knowledge and help facilitate new learning. It is my hope that new connections are being made all throughout the three day DNA lesson whether it is during the DNA Dance portion or the DNA SmartExchange or the other various activities. Assisting with the firing of neurons is sensory input within the brain. Using the thalamus, sensory information is first analyzed using the learners prior experiences. Depending upon the degree of importance associated with these past experiences, new information is either further processed into long-term memory or continues to stay within working memory. By addressing the prior knowledge on related topics to students before presenting new information during the DNA lesson, the chance of facilitating long-term memory is more likely.
15Spatial Orientation & Calculation Cerebral LobesProblem Solving &PlanningSpatial Orientation & CalculationJumpstart & KnockoutK’Nex ModelEach of the four cerebral lobes were activated multiple times throughout each lesson. For example, the frontal lobe where the majority of problem solving and planning takes place was activated during the daily Jumpstarts as well as the Knockout Game to give two examples. The parietal lobe which is responsible for spatial orientation as well as calculation was activated on day two during the building of the DNA K’Nex Model. The temporal lobe which is responsible for sound and music was activated specifically during the DNA Dance and DNA Song and not to mention all classroom discussions. Lastly, the occipital lobe which is responsible for sight and visual processing was activated during the DNA SmartExchange as well as the DNA Game just to give two examples.DNA Dance & SongSmartExchange& GameSound &MusicSight &Visual Processing
16Limbic System Maintains homeostasis Sensory Information An understanding of the limbic system can assist in effective teaching and can help promote long-term remembering for our students. Taking into account the four major parts of the limbic system, each plays a vital role in student learning. For example, it is very difficult for students, or anyone for that matter, to concentrate on cognitive processing if their body is not in a normal state. This homeostasis is maintained by the hypothalamus. An adequate amount of sleep, food, and liquids for the students all play a role in their learning and these things need to be encouraged. Another way to promote effective learning is taking into account the senses. When the thalamus is stimulated through sensory information such as touch, sight and sound, learning is aided. This was completed in my lessons through such methods as building a DNA K’Nex Model. Using the emotions of students through their amygdala is another way that memories and learning can be helped. Helping to create strong and positive emotions during lessons, such as laughing during the DNA Dance, helps to solidify cognitive information. Lastly, the hippocampus can be used to help during the learning process by assisting students in moving information from their working memory to their long-term memory. This can be done by continually tapping into the information that is within the working memory and this is demonstrated through daily jumpstart2s.Working Memory Long Term MemoryEmotions
17SourcesPadilla, Michael J., Ioannis Miaoulis, Martha Cyr, and Donald L. Cronkite. Cells and Heredity. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, Print.Sousa, David A. How the Brain Learns. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, Print.
18SourcesCavallini Cardinals Photo Courtesy Of:Cerebral Lobes Photo Courtesy Of:DNA Photo Courtesy Of:DNA Song Photo Courtesy Of:Genetics Word Art Courtesy Of:iPad Photo Courtesy Of:K’Nex Model Photo Courtesy Of:Learning Styles Photo Courtesy Of:Limbic System Photo Courtesy Of:Mind Mapping Photo Courtest Of:Multiple Intelligences Photo Courtesy Of:Neurons Photo Courtesy Of:Primacy/Recency Photo Courtesy Of:Sense & Meaning Photo Courtesy Of:Sensory Input Picture Courtesy Of: https://anatomyphysiology wikispaces.com/Sensory+InputSmartBoard Photo Courtesy Of:SmartExchange DNA Photo Courtesy Of: