Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Explain some of the mechanisms of how inheritance works at the genetic level.
- Explain how two different populations can be genetically different but look physically the same.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use various vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- Exhibit basic knowledge of who Charles Darwin is. Students should understand he was a naturalist who first explained the theory of evolution by natural selection in the 19th century, without the knowledge of DNA or genetic material.
- Be able to explain the basics of DNA structure. Students should understand the DNA is made up of nucleotides, with four possible different nitrogen bases.
- Have a basic knowledge of protein synthesis. Students should understand that DNA creates proteins to result in a phenotype. The reason an organism looks the way it does is due to its genetic DNA material.
- Have a working knowledge of natural selection. Students should understand the four major steps for natural selection to work:
- Overproduction of offspring into the environment.
- Offspring that are genetically different from each another.
- A struggle to adulthood in which offspring look for food and protect themselves from predators and the elements.
- The offspring that survive most likely have beneficial traits. They will be able to reproduce and pass those heritable traits onto their offspring.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
1. What are the steps needed for natural selection to occur? (The steps include overproduction of offspring, inherited variation, and the struggle to survive, which result in differential reproductive success.)
2. What can result when a mutation occurs in the DNA? (A phenotype change can occur.)
3. How are the mice populations on Florida's east and west coasts similar and different? They both are similar in color—white—but have different DNA to make them that way.
4. How do populations of mice show evidence of natural selection? Both populations had different mutations occur that led to a similar trait; in both cases, the mutation was beneficial to the population.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by showing the class of the Anastasia beach mouse and the Southeastern beach mouse. Ask the class to make a list of three observations they notice about the two pictures. Do NOT tell them yet that these are two different species of mouse!
2. List the observations they make on a whiteboard or projector for the class to see. Student answers will vary, but most will make observations about the brown and white coloring, the mice's environments (on sand or small rocks) the small size, or the long tail.
3. Next, ask the class "Do you think these two mice are the same species?" Ask them WHY they think so. Student answers will vary, and they may say yes because they have a lot of similarities in common, but they may also say no because they live in two different environments.
4. End the discussion by asking students how they could find out if the mice are from the same species. Student answers will vary. They may wonder if they reproduce together or if they live in the same area. If students do not mention analyzing their DNA, ask them "What about analyzing their DNA? What happens if their DNA is different?" Students will respond that they would be different species then. Explain to the students that the one picture is of the Anastasia beach mouse and the other one is the Southeastern beach mouse. They are two different species that live in two different parts of Florida. Ask the students: how could two different species look so similar but have different DNA? Student answers will vary, but explain to the class that different genes can lead to similar looking phenotypes. Then ask students: what would cause DNA to change? Student answers will vary, but might include differences due to activities during meiosis (independent assortment, crossing over of DNA, random fertilization, and mutations).
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the article "The Mythology of Natural Selection" and a copy of the note-taking guide.
2. Before students begin reading, direct them to number each paragraph and pay attention to the vocabulary of the article to help them learn and locate information.
3. Teachers are encouraged to ask the students to explain what they think the meaning for a word is, to allow for class discussion on terms and meanings. This will allow for students to have a review of the content using the appropriate vocabulary before they begin reading the text.
4. Each paragraph contains two questions the students will answer. The student answers will vary. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use the sample answer key at the end of the note-taking guide to help them assess students' answers.
3. For discussion on students' answers to the defined vocabulary words in paragraphs 1 and 2, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions: see the answer key for the note-taking guide.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use the sample answer key included at the end of the text-dependent questions to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions: see the text-dependent questions sample answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before students complete the writing prompt, be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
2. After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. Going over how the response is structured, pointing out ways to open and close the piece, showing use of effective transitions, and pointing out places to incorporate the natural use of vocabulary can really help students grow in their own writing skills for future writing tasks. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- How the opening sentence addresses the prompt while including some of the details about the beach mice.
- How else the writer might have opened the response; brainstorm possibilities.
- How the second paragraph explains evolution in a series of sequential steps.
- How the writer includes specific details from the article.
- Where the response might have been enhanced by "quoted" text evidence.
- How the writer uses transition words/phrases at the start of, and within, paragraphs.
- How else the writer might have included the response; brainstorm possibilities.
3. Consider having students rewrite the sample answer by adding even more evidence from the text: at least one quote in every paragraph.
4. As an "exit ticket," students should respond to the following question: How do the beach mice demonstrate natural selection?
Student answers will vary, but they should explain how two different populations of mice each developed a different mutation that was beneficial to their populations. Over time, that mutation was naturally selected because having a white sandy color allowed the mice to hide from predators. So even though the two populations of mice are genetically different, each mutation still resulted in a beneficial phenotype of the mice.
1. Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
3. Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt as the teacher goes over it so they will remember to answer all the required parts.
4. Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Using evidence and details from the text, explain how the population of forest mice who migrated into the sand dune coastal ecosystem evolved into mice with white coats. What kind of beneficial mutation occurred in the population of forest mice who now live at the beach? Explain the long-term impact of these changes on the beach mouse population.
Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for conducting Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"