Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Understand how scientists are creatively using new technology to make cancer-fighting drugs.
- Explain how this drug development approach is particularly beneficial for cancer patients.
- 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.
- Determine the central idea of 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?
- Students should be familiar with cancer and how cancel cells invade the body.
- Students should be familiar with how traditional traditional cancer treatments work.
- Basic knowledge of nanotechnology would help the student understand aspects of the article.
- These animations show different applications, and the home page explains the basics of nanotechnology:
For literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial. In addition, students should have some dictionary skills that will enable them to look up words with multiple meanings and determine the most appropriate meaning based on how a word is used in a text.
- Students should understand the term “central idea” and be able to distinguish central ideas from key details.
- “Central idea” means the same thing as “main idea.” The central idea is the author’s main point about the topic or topics in a text. The central ideas are the dominant, most important, or chief ideas that emerge from all the ideas presented in a text.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in the "Drag-and-Drop DNA" article include: title, subtitle, images, and captions.
- Students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. This site provides transitions teachers might share.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Why is the process discussed in the article considered to be a novel and creative approach for drug development?
- The process described in this article creates a therapeutic compound molecule by molecule with a structure that has already been determined by researchers. This technique is unique because it is much faster than any prior technology. In addition, this method allows control over the size, charge, and placement of each component. Unlike other treatments that rely on trial and error for finding useful compounds, this technique allows the scientists to specifically place each atom in the compound they design.
- How can the Parabon technology described in this article change the way cancer might be treated?
The Parabon technology allows a very speedy process in the design, creation, and testing of the drug. If there are errors, scientists can quickly change a component from the compound and retest, as opposed to other drugs that must be tested by trial and error. The Parabon technology has also been designed to improve cancer treatments which in the past have been an obstacle for patients. They hope to develop a treatment that will affect only the cancer cells and not nearby healthy tissues. They also plan on having chemical markers to monitor the treatment's arrival at the tumors. This would help cancer patients undergo treatments that are not as physically grueling as other types.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by asking students: "What do you know about cancer?"
2. They most likely know someone who has had the disease or might have died from it. They will probably be familiar with the different types, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, etc.
3. Ask students: "What are some of the different treatments for cancer?"
4. Students may discuss chemotherapy and radiation as the two most common and traditional forms of treatment. At this time, the teacher may want to explain these treatments and their differences.
5. Explain to students that there are a variety of different treatments now available being used to treat specific cancers. provides information about these different treatments.
6. Ask students if they have ever heard of or are familiar with nanotechnology.
7. A few may be able to explain that nanotechnology is science conducted at the atomic or molecular scale.
8. Introduce the concept of a nanometer, and show the students a visual allowing them to gain perspective about the technology that will be discussed in the article.
9. Finally, explain to students how nanotechnology is a new and innovative tool being used in medicine. Show this video clip in which some of the uses and future uses of nanotechnology are discussed.
10. Inform students that they will be reading an article, "Drag-and-Drop DNA," which discusses the design and development of new cancer drugs using nanotechnology.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide students with a copy of the article "Drag-and-Drop DNA."
2. For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to have students number each paragraph.
3. Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: "Drag-and-Drop DNA"
- Subtitle: Novel technique aiding development of new cancer drugs
- Captions: Located under both photographs
3. Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
4. Have students fill out the note-taking guide as they read the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in a small group. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- After a first reading, students will need to take notes, organizing them in the appropriate "thought bubbles" provided.
- Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students must define at the end of the note-taking guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words. For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge and use a dictionary to define the words.
5. If students struggle with determining the meaning of the selected academic vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them:
- Lethal (2nd paragraph): deadly. Encourage students to use context clues. In the article, lethal describes a type of brain cancer. Students should be able to make the connection of the meaning based on the severity of brain cancer.
- Proprietary (6th paragraph): owned by one entity, person, or company. Encourage students to use context clues. The term is used in a description of algorithms. In the 5th paragraph, the article discusses the new technology used by Parabon. In the 6th paragraph, the article explains how Parabon is using proprietary technology--that which it owns and controls--to determine DNA sequences.
- Prostate (3rd paragraph): a gland in the male reproductive system. Encourage students to use an online or print dictionary. Explain to students that this is a very common cancer found in males.
- In vivo (9th paragraph): "within the living" or occurring in a natural setting. Give students a clue by telling them that viv is the Latin root for "life." In the paragraph, the term is used to describe experiments on living organisms.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
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 this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
3. For discussion of students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, 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.
4. Teachers can circulate around the room as the note-taking guides are being completed and take note of any specific insights or misconceptions that should be discussed with the whole class. The teacher could also take note of any answers that were not text-based but relied on reader background knowledge.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students may not know that much of the evidence in nanotechnology comes from indirect observations, although new technologies allow for direct observations.
- Students may not know about in vivo testing, or they may think it is done on partial or dead organisms. It is testing that occurs on living organisms, including humans.
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?):
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.
Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please 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 assignment, review the responses to the text-dependent questions completed earlier by the students. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
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.
3. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- How the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph. Go over how this writer opened his or her piece of writing. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- Demonstrate how the writer organizes the response so that each paragraph addresses a different aspect of the prompt.
- Point out the use of textual specifics throughout.
- Point out the writer’s use of transitions throughout.
- Point out how the concluding sentences support the main point. Brainstorm with students additional ideas about how to wrap up the piece. (For example, the introduction began with a reference using computers to guide DNA self-assembly techniques. How might the conclusion include a reference to the assembly procedure? This would allow the conclusion to connect back nicely to the introduction.)
4. While reading the sample response, students can take note of the use of domain-specific vocabulary, including interface, self-assembly, nanotechnology, cloud supercomputing platform, algorithm, logic gates, and other terms they defined in the note-taking guide.
5. As one final option, teachers might want students to use the rubric to provide a score for the sample written response and have them justify the score they gave, possibly providing revision suggestions for any categories they scored lower than a 4.
Have students complete the following "exit ticket," which they must turn in at the end of the lesson:
- 3 advantages of using nanotechnology to treat cancer are...
- Define nanotechnology in your own words.
- Once science concept I still don't understand is...
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 must refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over it 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.
The prompt: Using evidence from the article, describe the new process that greatly speeds up the development of cancer fighting drugs. Why it is important that scientific research and development is supported through substantial funding and cooperation among public agencies and private businesses?
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?"