Reproduction, Inheritance, and Meiosis: Mendel’s Pea Plants

We kicked off the new unit with a primer on heredity (courtesy of Crash Course – see below) and a historical tour of Gregor Mendel’s contribution to the field of genetics.  Slides for the day can be downloaded here.  I am thrilled that much of the discussion around Punnett Squares, as well as some of the vocabulary, are review for many of my students.  All students are encouraged to continue practicing unit vocabulary via the Quizlet link.


Mitosis: Mitosis project presentations – Day 3

With a group or two in most classes still needing to present their work, today was a catch-up and review day.  In addition to the presentations, students worked in groups to create concept maps summarizing the major concepts from all of the presentations.  They also wrote thank you letters to the retired teacher who so kindly donated several decades worth of science magazines to our classroom last fall.  We will transition from mitosis to the study of reproduction, inheritance, and meiosis tomorrow.

Mitosis: Mitosis project presentations – Day 2

Another great day of student presentations!  Projects ranged from a game created by students (to simultaneously model the process of mitosis and the effect of alcohol on the liver) to solidly constructed PowerPoint presentations.  Because of the short periods and absent students, we will conclude presentations on Monday.

Below are videos identified by students who presented on muscle growth and repair, as well as the effect of smoking on the lungs.

Mitosis project presentations – Day 1

What a great first day of presentations!  I was very impressed with the way student groups successfully distilled several days of intense research into 7-10 minute high quality presentations.  Examples of student work are available below:

Prezi presentation about cancer and metastasis

A silent film created by my students and posted to YouTube explaining the connection between mitosis and limb regeneration in salamanders and newts:

Mitosis: Mitosis Project – Day 4

Today is the final big work day for student groups working on their Mitosis Projects.  The goal for today was to briefly assess the current state of the project, identify goals to work towards in bringing the project to a successful completion, and finally for group members to assign homework to complete any remaining project components outside of class.  Students recorded their group discussion on a worksheet.  Slides presented at the beginning of class can be viewed here.

Tomorrow we will wrap up the projects, putting finishing touches on the content and practicing presentations.  Students will also complete an assessment of the project.

Mitosis: Mitosis Project – Day 3

Student groups continue to make excellent progress in their Mitosis Projects.  To help students capture what has been contributed by each group member so far and what still needs to be accomplished, students completed an organizing worksheet as an entry task.  Students were also reminded about the required components of the project and that third quarter ends next Friday.  The slides for today are attached here.

Mitosis: Check-in

With the short period today, we reviewed how to identify credible scientific sources and how to properly cite those sources using APA format.  Students were introduced to the website Citation Machine which helps extract key citation information from websites and helps quickly build citations.  For the project, teams must cite a minimum of 5 credible scientific sources.  Because of the technological challenges faced during the Chromosome Project, student groups received a paper copy of a document prompting them to save sources.

Students worked the remainder of the class period to properly cite previously identified sources and continued making progress on Mitosis Projects, providing me with time to check in with each group to see how the projects are progressing and to ensure students have what they need to continue moving forward.

Mitosis: Mitosis project – Day 2

Today marked the second day students worked in groups to develop their Mitosis Projects.  Students began class with an entry task asking them to write 4 sentences explaining the connection between their group’s Mitosis Project research topic and mitosis.  Next, groups received their work from yesterday along with the Day 2 Activity Log.  In addition to sketching out their poster, groups began focusing on their “additional element” – the creativity of my students is incredible!  Groups are creating videos (acted out and claymation), a comic strip, an original game, a brochure, and presentations with PowerPoint and Prezi.


Mitosis: Mitosis project – Day 1

Today students launched in to the Mitosis Project.  After working through a brief starter activity (practice with an EOC-style unanticipated consequence question), students worked with their groups to make sense of their project assignment.  The Day 1 Activity Log was used to document student contributions and was turned in at the end of class.  Below are some resources for groups as they begin conducting research on their topic:

  1. Mitochondrial replication
  2. Chloroplast replication
  3. Binary fission in bacteria
  4. Muscle growth and repair
  5. Epigenetics and regulation of gene expression
  6. Homeobox genes in embryogenesis
  7. Limb regeneration in newts and salamanders
  8. C. elegans cell fate mapping
  9. Cancer and metastasis
  10. The effect of smoking on lung cells
  11. The effect of alcohol on liver cells
  12. Retrovirus infection