Lesson Plan Template: Learning Cycle (5E Model)
Learning Objectives: What will students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Students will be able to explain that different organisms have similar embryo physical characteristics.
- Students will be able to understand how comparative embryology may be a result of shared evolutionary history.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Students should be familiar with the theory of natural selection: that organisms more "fit" to survive in their environment will reproduce and pass on the favorable traits to their offspring. Students should know that natural selection is the driving force behind evolution. In addition to the theory of natural selection, students should also be familiar with the theory of evolution: that all organisms descended from a common ancestor and changed over time.
Students can be familiar with other supports for evolution, such as comparative anatomy, biogeography, the fossil record, and molecular biology before beginning this lesson. Alternatively, the teacher can introduce this lesson as evidence for evolution, making students unaware of other support.
Terms like embryo and comparative embryology do not need to be addressed before this lesson plan. The plan will cover these terms.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
How does comparative embryology support the theory of evolution?
Engage: What object, event, or questions will the teacher use to trigger the students' curiosity and engage them in the concepts?
At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher will display the Comparative Embryology PowerPoint (attached). The teacher will ask the students, "Do you know what you are looking at?" (embryos)
The teacher should progress to the next slide and review the term embryo with students.
For the next couple of slides, the students should raise their hand and have an opportunity to guess what organism each embryo belongs to. The teacher can point out observations to help them guess, such as, "The first embryo on the left has the longest nose when it is further developed" or, "The third embryo from the left has a large ear when it is fully developed. What is an organism with big ears?"
The teacher should conclude the PowerPoint with reviewing the term comparative embryology for students.
Explore: What will the students do to explore the concepts and skills being developed through the lesson?
The teacher starts this portion of the lesson by having the students get into groups of 3-4.
The teacher will pass out a Embryos Set A card (attached) to each group. Students will have roughly 5 minutes to observe the embryos and list similarities and differences between them on their Embryo/Fully Developed Organisms Observations Worksheet (attached).
The teacher should collect the cards and pass our Fully Developed Organisms Set B cards to each group. Again, students will have roughly 5 minutes to observe the organisms and list similarities and differences between them.
The teacher can hold a class discussion for roughly 10 minutes on similarities and differences for each set of cards and make a class chart on the board.
Explain: What will the students and teacher do so students have opportunities to clarify their ideas, reach a conclusion or generalization, and communicate what they know to others?
Students will be asked to answer the following questions from the Embryo/Fully Developed Organisms Observations Worksheet (attached):
- What is an embryo?
(an organism's early prebirth stage of development)
- What is comparative embryology?
(comparing and contrasting embryos of different species)
- Did you have more similarities or differences in your embryo observations chart? Use evidence from your observation chart to explain your answer.
(answers may vary but ideally students should have more similarities listed)
- Did you have more similarities or differences in your fully developed organisms observations chart? Use evidence from your observation chart to explain your answer.
(answers may vary but ideally students should have more differences listed)
- How do you think comparative embryology shows support for evolution?
(All embryos look similar, regardless of the organism. These similarities suggest an evidence for evolution. The embryos look similar because all organisms come from a common ancestor)
Students should work together with their group members to answer these questions. If class is 45-50 minutes in length, day 1 of this lesson plan will conclude with this portion.
Elaborate: What will the students do to apply their conceptual understanding and skills to solve a problem, make a decision, perform a task, or make sense of new knowledge?
If class is 45-50 minutes in length, day 2 of this lesson plan will start with this portion (and conclude with the summative assessment).
Students will read the article "Comparative Embryology: The Vertebrate Body," adapted from The Human Evolution Coloring Book, 2d ed., by Adrienne L. Zihlman by WGBH. First, students will read the article individually. Each student should write a small summary of each paragraph, and then an overall summary of the article. The students will then meet with their group and discuss their summaries. They will be required to come to a consensus for a summary of the article, and create a whiteboard or poster board to present to the class. Each board must include the following:
- A summary of the article.
- Answer to the guided question: "How does comparative embryology support the theory of evolution? Use evidence from the Embryo/Fully Developed Organisms Observations Worksheet (attached) and article to support your answer."
Students' answers from Question #2 (how does comparative embryology support the theory of evolution?) during the white board presentations from the Elaborate portion of the lesson plan will serve as a Summative Assessment.
Additionally, at the end of the lesson, the students will answer a sample End of Course Assessment exam question pertaining to the standard found at "Escambia County Schol District: SC.912.L.15.1 Evolution." The teacher should post Example Three on a LCD projector for the students to see. Each student can use either a whiteboard or piece of paper to answer the question individually. Once all students have efficient time to answer, all students will hold up their answer for the teacher to check for accuracy.
The Embryo/Fully Developed Organisms Observations Worksheet (attached) has observation charts and conclusion questions that will serve as a Formative Assessment. This worksheet is used during the Explore and Explain sections.
Feedback to Students
While students are completing the Formative Assessment worksheet, the teacher will circulate around the room and engage in activities such as listening to students' discussions and examining their work. The teacher will provide feedback through verbal comments or asking interrogating questions. The questions can include:
- What similarities did you notice between the embryos?
(examples of answers can include: all embryos have an eye, ear, gill slits, and tail)
- What differences do you notice?
(examples of answers can include: the heads are different shapes, the embryos are different sizes, and the tails have different lengths and widths)
- Why do you think different organisms look similar when they are embryos?
(All organisms come from a common ancestor, so they start developing the same way)