In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article addresses an innovative possible treatment for diabetes using cone snail venom. The venom contains a form of insulin that is faster acting than human insulin. Further research shows that the cone snail insulin requires no prep before it is used, therefore explaining its quick response time. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: insulin, diabetes, nanotechnology, pancreas, autoimmune disorder, blood glucose, lesson plan, text complexity
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Explain the significance of continuing research to solve problems like diabetes. Diseases like diabetes affect society both medically and financially.
- 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 ideas of the text.
- Construct a written argument that clearly establishes a 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?
- General familiarity with diabetes. Students should know how diabetes affects the human body in both the short term and long term.
- The CDC has a that offers numerous resources on diabetes: symptoms, causes, treatment, prevention, and statistics.
- This short video titled "What is Type 1 Diabetes?" (2:14, uploaded by YouTube user ClearlyHealth) describes what type 2 diabetes is and how it affects the cells.
- Clearly Health provides a short video explaining type 1 diabetes and how it affects the body.
- General knowledge of insulin treatment.
- This short video titled "Diabetes Treatment How to Treat Diabetes with Insulin" (3:52, uploaded by YouTube user Elizza 1) demonstrates some of the ways insulin is administered to patients with diabetes.
- 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.
- 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?
- Why is there a need for faster acting insulin?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body produces little to no insulin or the body's cells have become insensitive to it. Diabetics must keep a constant eye on their blood sugar or risk serious health complications. A rapid-acting insulin would allow patients to better manage their blood sugar and avoid crucial health complications.
- How did cone snail venom help scientists come up with a possible solution for creating faster acting insulin?
After researching cone snail venom, an international research team discovered that the insulin it contains lacks the segment B that is found in human insulin. The team found cone snail insulin doesn't have to go through as many structural changes as human insulin.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by posing this general question to the class: "What is diabetes?"
- Many students will likely know about diabetes. Most students will know that it has to do with blood sugar, but may not understand if diabetes causes blood sugar to go up or to drop. Students may also not be clear on the differences between type 1 and 2 diabetes.
- Have the students watch this video titled "" (1:55, uploaded by YouTube user doxsolutions).
- After watching the video, ask students to summarize the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes in one sentence. This could be done individually or in pairs.
- Then ask several students to share their summaries of the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Students should state in their summary that the main difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the cause. Type 1 diabetes is caused by a malfunctioning pancreas that no longer produces insulin, or produces very little of it, whereas type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to obesity, lack of exercise, and family history. If type 2 diabetes is caught early, it can be halted and/or reversed by diet and exercise.
- Finally, ask students how they think diabetes affects society as a whole.
- Student answers will vary. Money for medical bills may come up. Students may not realize many diabetics miss work due to issues and complications; this again costs money in the form of a decrease in productivity in some companies as they pay for temporary employees to fill the empty spots.
- Show students this video from WSOCTV, titled "Diabetes Patients Struggle as Insulin Prices Rise," on the economic costs of insulin.
- End the discussion by informing students that they will be reading an article that addresses a new type of faster acting insulin that is naturally produced by--of all things--cone snail venom.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Provide each student with a copy of the article "Cone Snail Venom Reveals Insulin Insights." For class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph.
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Cone Snail Venom Reveals Insulin Insights
- Summary: At a Glance
- Captions: located under each photograph
- Have students fill out the note-taking guide 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 can decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on 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.
- If students struggle with determining the meaning of the selected academic vocabulary, teachers might use the definitions found in the note-taking guide answer key to guide them.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share 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.
- 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:
- Type 1 diabetes can be prevented. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by lack of exercise or diet. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is thought to be caused by genetics and environmental factors like viruses. If type 2 diabetes is caught early, it can be reversed or prevented.
- Insulin is the last treatment for diabetes. Insulin used to be given as a last resort in treatment, but it has been found that it is often the best first treatment. It has been found starting insulin earlier can allow you to live a longer, healthier life.
- Someone with diabetes never feels in control. Using the correct medicine, exercise and diet allow people with diabetes to be in complete control of their glucose levels. It may take a little time at first to determine what is needed, as each person is different, but having control is attainable.
- Artificial sweeteners are better for you than sugar. While artificial sweeteners may help diabetics deal with sugar cravings, it has recently been found that when you ingest artificial sweeteners your brain gets confused. Your brain realizes that you ate something sweet, but when your sugar levels don't increase, your brain doesn't understand, so it has proved that the brain makes you crave sugar even more because no calories came with the sugar.
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?
- Before students complete the writing prompt for the summative assessment, 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.
- Before assigning the writing prompt, show students the video "" (2:52, uploaded by YouTube user SmartPlanetCBS) and instruct them to take notes on it. This video will educate students about a possible new way to treat diabetes by creating an artificial pancreas using nanotechnology. The final writing prompt requires students to corroborate the text they read and the video they watched.
- 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 detailed written response. 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; have students identify the main point of the piece. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- Have students examine each of the body paragraphs and explain how each supports the main point of the piece.
- Have students identify where the writer effectively uses textual evidence from the article for support of his or her points.
- Have students identify the use of transition words or phrases that make the ideas flow.
- Ask students to identify effective and accurate use of domain-specific vocabulary (biomass, ecosystems, superheated) and academic vocabulary (adverse, frigid, accumulation).
- Have students read the final paragraph to see how the writer wrapped up the piece and connected back to the main point established in the introduction.
- 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 each student complete a 3-2-1 exit ticket. List:
- 3 new ideas you learned
- 2 new terms you learned
- 1 question you still have
- 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 and video notes as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over it with them so they will know how their written responses will be assessed.
- 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.
The prompt: Money for medical research is hard to acquire, but a large grant from the American Diabetes Association is up for grabs! There is only enough money to support one area of research: quick reacting cone snail insulin OR an artificial pancreas using nanotechnology. Explain and defend which one should receive the grant money. Which is a more promising way to treat diabetes, and why? Use evidence from the article and video to back up your answer.
- 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?"
Accommodations & Recommendations
For students struggling with the science content:
- This "What is Diabetes?" (8:44, uploaded by YouTube user Diabetes UK) offers a great explanation of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This could be shown before students read the text.
For readers struggling with the note-taking guide:
- Teachers might want to fill in some answers on the cause/effect graphic organizer for section one, leaving students to fill in a few of the blank boxes in between the provided answers.
For struggling readers:
- It might benefit students to chunk the text. Have students independently read section one, then have several strong readers read section one aloud.
- Then, have students highlight the selected vocabulary for section one on the article. Work with students to model ways to define a few of the academic vocabulary words to get them started. The teacher can think aloud as he or she decides which vocabulary strategy or strategies to use to define a word, and think aloud while deciding which meaning from a dictionary entry with multiple meanings would be the best fit for how the word is used in the context of the article.
- Then, have students complete the note-taking guide for the rest of section one. When students are ready, have them share out their answers and provide corrective verbal feedback as needed, allowing students to make corrections to their work. Then repeat this process for the other sections of the text if needed. Or, at least have students complete the graphic organizer for the next section and receive feedback on their work before they move on.
For struggling writers:
- It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their written response for the summative assessment. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Topic sentences (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Diabetes causes many complications throughout the body. Have students research these complications and possibly discuss the costs encountered with each complication. It may be best to divide the class into groups and assign them one of the following complications. Each student can present what they have learned to the class via a presentation, a poster, or a general discussion.
- Skin complications
- Eye complications
- Kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Students may also research and then hypothesize what may be causing the difference.
- Some students may have an immense amount of interest in nanotechnology. This would be a great time to allow students to follow a personal passion--something they are curious about. This activity could be as simple as a homework assignment or an assigned research project.
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Jennifer Storer
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.