The possibilities are endless!
The activity in this article really emphasizes taking students out into nature and connecting their real world environment to what they are learning in class. So many children today do not have the opportunity to explore and learn from nature by going outside and experiencing nature first hand and with. This activity, which is designed around the 5E model, is completely adaptable to any grade level and any type of environment. There are also suggestions as to how to use math and language arts activities to communicate findings. This is a really nice lesson plan with endless possibilities to expand and build upon.
Pets, Pets, and More Pets
In this article, "Learning Genetics with Paper Pets", author Valery Raunig Finnerty gives an example of a classroom activity that will work alongside a unit about genetics for middle school students. It involves the use of paper pets that start out with five homozygous traits. Students then use their knowledge gained in the classroom to create F1 and F2 generations. At this point, genetic mutations are introduced by the teacher to go into further depth. I really enjoyed this article and would use it in my own classroom. Finnerty did a great job explaining very detailed, step by step instructions, and she also provided templates and charts to use. Finally, she showed ways to extend this activity into a unit about natural selection and evolution. What a fun, hands-on activity that will benefit all learners, especially visual learners.
Valuable Science Tool
In this article, "How do we know protons, electrons, and quarks really exist?", Bill Robertson explains that there are many occasions in science that the discussion is about an object or a concept that cannot be seen. The author uses a great analogy by having the reader imagine being in a dark room, chained to a chair, with only a pile of rocks at one's disposal. With the rocks, Robertson explains, one could get an idea of the size of the room and where a door might be located by throwing the rocks in all directions. When trying to find out what atoms might look like, scientists had to perform many experiments to support their theories. Explaining the "dark room" analogy to students is a great way to open up discussion in the classroom about scientific findings that are not always obvious. I think it is a valuable tool in challenging the students to think beyond what they can see.