Thursday, December 5, 2013

ISN success with genetics

This week has been very productive for using our interactive science notebooks.  I purchased a bunch of products during the TpT Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale and decided to make a change to my punnett square lesson after I had downloaded my new stuff. Using an accordion fold template from Mad Science Lessons,  (TpT store here) I turned my usual "Punnett Squares 101" lesson into a booklet that students would create and attach to their ISN. Students used 4 sheets of the large diamond shape accordion template to create enough pages for the booklets. The picture below shows the template page and the completed accordion.

First students cut out, assembled, and folded the booklets. Next I gave them a copy of the 7 steps to making a Punnett square, the cut the steps apart and glued one step to every other page.

The remaining pages the students filled in with an example as we followed the steps to solve a basic mono-hybrid cross. There finished products looked something like the one below - sorry you can't see much of the detail.

I think that this strategy worked really well. The students were more engaged in taking the notes because in their words "they didn't feel like notes"...but they got the same exact content and examples they would have if we had done my usual notes on this. The other benefit is that in this format they can flip step by step as they are working on a problem and just unfold the step they need to work on. For the students that have trouble focusing with a lot of information on the page this helps them isolate each step as they do them. After finishing the books students did a set of 4 practice problems that were very detailed and guided. They generally did well and most of the errors were just because those individuals didn't slow down and read the whole problem before they started working.
We are now working through my Martian Genetics Simulation (which is on TpT if you click on the picture below). This is a very time consuming activity but something the students always enjoy. It really drives home the difference between phenotype and genotype and heterozygous and homozygous. Plus is sets us up to talk about how traits are passed in families over time or with a simple extension activity we can branch off into natural selection. So far this week we have determined the genetics for our parent generation, drawn the parent martians, determined possible gametes from the parents and randomly selected partners for reproduction, and today we used those partners to determine the genotype and phenotype of our F1 generation. As I have been working through the activity this time I have come up with lots of ideas for improvements and expansions....I probably wont have time to do that until Christmas break but if I make big additions the price will go up some so if you are interested buy now and you will end up getting the updates for FREE!

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