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 scar tissue actually promotes neuron regeneration.
- Describe the basic process of tissue repair.
- 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 argument 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 know the main types of tissues (connective, nervous, muscle and epithelial) so they can determine the types of growth that each tissue undergoes and the difficulty of repairing neurons and supporting nervous system cells.
- A PowerPoint is attached that reviews these basic types.
- Students should know and describe the neurons and other types of cells in the nervous system, especiallyastrocytes.
- Refer to the attached PowerPoint or this .
- Students should know what an axon is and the basic functions of how a message is relayed.
- Students should have a working knowledge of the nervous system: specifically the spinal cord and how information is transferred.
- Students should have some background on the immune system.
- Refer to this video titled "The Immune System Explained" (6:48, uploaded by YouTube user Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell) to understand inflammation and how the signal to repair tissue is conducted.
- Students should understand the basics of the action potential.
- Refer to this video titled "The Nervous System, Part 2" (11:43, uploaded by YouTube user CrashCourse) or this website titled "Nervous System Guide" (National Science Teachers Association).
- Students should have a basic understanding of the central nervous system: that it consists of the brain and spinal cord.
- Refer to this video titled "Central Nervous System" (10:07, uploaded by YouTube user CrashCourse).
- Students should be familiar with the structure and function of the spinal cord.
- Refer to this website from Neuroscience for Kids titled "The Spinal Cord," or this video titled "Neurology - Spinal Cord Introduction" (13:42, uploaded by YouTube user Armando Hasudungan).
- 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 be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in this article include the title, subtitle, photograph, and caption.
- 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.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
1. How is information from a neuron transferred?
- Neurons use electrochemical responses traveling down the axon, using the action potential.
2. How does information from the spinal cord spread to the rest of the body?
- Your spinal cord is made of neurons whose axons handle autonomic control for most of the nervous system functions.
- It carries sensory information from the body, and some from the head to the central nervous system, via fibers, and it performs the initial processing of information.
- Motor neurons and their axons are connected to the periphery that monitors skeletal and smooth muscles that control voluntary and involuntary reflexes.
3. Are astrocytes thought to contribute to tissue regeneration after a spinal cord injury?
- Initially, it was thought that astrocytes contribute too much to scarring and that tissue regeneration would actually inhibit the growth and connection of new axon terminals. This new research is now showing that astrocytes may promote the healing and new connections even with the scar formation.
4. What is scar tissue and how is it formed? Which tissues are better at scar tissue formation?
- Scar tissue is formed when the immune system response kicks in and sends several types of cells to the injured site to repair and fight off infection. This causes inflammation and production of new cells in a process called fibrosis. Often there is an abundance of collagen produced, which can actually promote too much dense fibrous connective tissue that may not have the same elasticity or function as the previous tissue. Different types of tissue regenerate differently: skin and other types of epithelial tissue repair easily, skeletal muscle tissue repairs poorly, while nervous tissue and cardiac tissue form scar tissue which does not promote the same connections as before.
5. What does current research conclude regarding scar tissue formation after a spinal cord injury?
- Scar tissue formation has shown to help in rebuilding connections between axons as long as the astrocytes are available to prevent inflammation. It appears allowing scar-building astrocytes to form and coalesce around the injury site within the spinal cord is a benefit to the healing process.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Ask students: "How does scar tissue form?" Accept any response.
- Students should be familiar with the basics of scar tissue formation: how the immune system activates, kills off bacteria, promotes new cell growth, but leaves an extra amount of collagen that does change the makeup of the tissue, hence a scar. The process is called fibrosis.
2. Show students this titled "How Do Scars Form?" (3:03, uploaded by YouTube user DNews).
3. Ask: "What happens if there is an injury to tissue that isn’t skin? We know how scars form on our epithelial tissue, but nervous tissue is structured much differently. What about nervous tissue regeneration?" Discuss:
- In the past it was believed that this regeneration was not possible or that it was very slow and ineffective. Think about your spinal cord. What type of cells is your spinal cord made of? How is it protected? What has to happen for a spinal cord injury to occur? What kind of damage could it cause? Do you think there are ways to repair it?
- Conventional wisdom always pointed to the fact that neural tissue did not regenerate or regenerate very quickly. It was thought that scar tissue was actually a hindrance when repairing neural connections. That thinking may be changing with some current research.
4. Inform students that they will be reading an article that talks about this new research today.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the article "New Role Identified for Scars at the Site of Injured Spinal Cord." For class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph.
2. Provide each student with a note-taking guide and a vocabulary guide.
3. Have students fill out the guides as they read the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- Note: Based on the needs and skills of students, teachers might decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the vocabulary 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.
4. If students struggle with determining the meaning of the selected academic vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them:
- Functional (paragraph 9): performing or able to function. Students can decipher this word by breaking down the term and looking at it in context. The important point of this statement is to make working neural connections, so functional means one that works. The wiring has to be there, but it has to actually deliver messages to be successful.
- Hinder (subtitle): to slow or make difficult the process of. Students can decipher meaning from the context; the term is basically defined as being opposite of "may help."
- Dense (picture caption): thick. By looking at the image, students may decipher the meaning.
- Stimulate (picture caption): to encourage. From the image and description, students can decipher the meaning; this is also supported by the rest of the text of the article.
- Severed (paragraph 3): cut off. Students can decipher the basic meaning from the context of the sentence but at first might think it means "stop working." A dictionary might help here.
- Activated (paragraph 3): to start or turn on. Students can break the word down to get activate.
- Inflammation (paragraph 3): a response to injury; redness, heat, pain. This term is specific to biology, and students may have to learn the full definition from the textbook or other resource.
- Interfere (paragraph 3): get in the way of. This is a contrary sentence to the prior sentence, so from context students should be able to decipher the meaning.
- Shuttled (paragraph 5): moved to or transferred to. This term may be confusing at first. Students can decipher meaning from the text but should also consider the term shuttle as in shuttle bus or even space shuttle and determine the meaning from that.
- Robust (paragraph 5): having or exhibiting strength or health. From context, students may know that it means to promote growth, so they might need a dictionary to determine that it means significant growth.
- Enhance (paragraph 7): make better, or improve. This is a tricky sentence, but it basically supports the rest of the article; students should be able to decipher meaning from the rest of the text.
- Mechanisms (paragraph 9): how something works. Students may decipher the meaning from the context of the sentence, but if looking in a dictionary they should look at the secondary meaning to fully understand.
- Preliminary (paragraph 9): something that precedes or is early. Students may have trouble deciphering meaning from the context and may have to use a dictionary to determine meaning.
- Establish (paragraph 9): to make firm or stable. Students may determine meaning in context but also might need some assistance. In the dictionary the term fits the 2nd definition.
- Fundamental (paragraph 11): basic or a baseline. Students may decipher the meaning from context but may need to use a dictionary.
- Burden (paragraph 11): the bearing of a load. Students may decipher from context clues.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their completed note-taking guides, 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 these sample answer keys at the end of the attached vocabulary guide and note-taking guide 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.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
1. Students may think that the vertebral column and the spinal cord are the same thing.
- Students may assume that the spine consists solely of the skeletal structure of the vertebral column, or backbone. They can feel their own backbone, and they know that it is a structural component of their body. Students may not realize that the backbone encases the spinal cord, a vital part of our nervous system. Show a diagram from the attached PowerPoint or use other images to illustrate.
2. Students may think that all messages travel through the brain for processing.
- The spinal cord is able to direct simple reflex actions, such as reflexes, that require a quick response from the body. More complex motor actions, such as some involuntary and all voluntary actions of the body, require brain involvement. The spinal cord is responsible for connecting the peripheral nervous system to the brain. Neurons of the spinal cord are able to process certain signals from the body.
3. The structure of the spinal cord is directly related to its function as a conveyor of information.
- Information, in the form of nerve impulses, reaches the spinal cord through sensory neurons and exits the spinal cord through motor neurons. Information enters and departs from the spinal cord through spinal nerves.
4. Students may think neurons are the only cells of the nervous system.
- While neurons are part of the nervous system, there are supporting cells of the nervous system called glial cells. These supporting cells have many important functions. The main supporting cells, astrocytes, are the main component discussed in the article. Star-shaped astrocytes are supporting cells that are the bridge between blood vessels (capillaries) and the neurons. Astrocytes help protect the neuron from harmful substances in the blood and also control the chemical environment in the brain by removing potassium ions or collecting released neurotransmitters that may still be needed.
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 their 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 this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see Guided Practice, above.
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 their responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in Guided Practice.
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.
- The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or withanLCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- How the writer introduced the topic
- What the main point is (underline)
- How the writer used topic sentences to introduce and connect the paragraphs
- Where text evidence is used
- Where transition words/phrases are used
- How academic vocabulary from the text is used (underline)
- How the writer wrapped up the piece
3. 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.
1. Have students submit an "exit ticket" at the end of the lesson indicating:
- The most interesting new thing they learned
- Something they still don't understand
- A new vocabulary term they learned and are likely to use for themselves
2. The information may be used as the foundation for a follow-up discussion.
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 should 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:
- You are a doctor at a local research institute. You have just recently read the research on this study. You are talking to another doctor that has not read the research. Convince her that spinal cord injury rehabilitation research has found that scar tissue regeneration is important for spinal cord regeneration. Use information from the text to support your argument.
4. Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
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?"