Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Describe the scientific theory of cells (cell theory).
- Relate the history of its development to the process of science.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- Hierarchical organization of life
- Function of cells
- Characteristics of life
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- What scientific knowledge added to the properties of cells?
- Why are cells essential for life?
- What do plant and animal cells have in common?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
Have students look at their hand. What do they see? Allow students to document responses in their science journals; we will return to this question at a later time.
Distribute the video anticipation guide (see attachments). Have students complete the left side only. Now play students a clip from the Bill Nye episode "Cells" (season 1, episode 17). Note that the suggested clip is the first three minutes after the introductory credits.
Give students 3-4 minutes to complete the right side of the video anticipation guide. If students changed their minds about an answer, have them jot down any new information that they learned from the video.
Place students in groups of three to four. Students will conduct research to answer the following guiding questions. Ensure that students are on task by circulating and probing for student understanding and misconceptions. Students will document their answers to the following Guiding Questions on flipchart paper.
- Explain how the discovery of the microscope affected our view of the world.
- What conclusions can be drawn from the objects that Leeuwenhoek and Hooke observed in their microscopes? Explain.
- Explain why Leeuwenhoek was concerned with communicating his findings with other scientists.
- Infer how scientists used knowledge gained from the microscopic world to develop the three tenets of the cell theory:
- Cells are the basic unit of life.
- All cells come from pre-existing cells.
- All organisms are composed of one or more cells.
- Justify the following statement: "Thinking and new ideas advance science, not just the design of instruments."
Students will share their answers via a gallery walk, a strategy where student work is posted around the classroom and each group rotates to review/revise their classmates' work. For more information, see the article "Gallery Walk" at Starting Point.
Provide each group with a different color of sticky notes. Students groups will rotate clockwise. Each group has to review every other group's work, providing positive and constructive feedback. On each sticky note, the group should identify one point that they agree with, a question that they have about a response, a suggestion that will enhance a specific answer, and an answer that provided new insight or that they found provocative. Allow each group 3-5 minutes to review what is written and provide feedback on the poster paper.
Note: Discuss constructive feedback with students. By definition, constructive feedback is communication that brings to an individual's attention an area in which their performance could improve, in a manner that helps the individual understand and internalize the information. If more direction is needed, read "Giving Student Feedback: 20 Ways to Do It Right" by Laura Reynolds at InformED.
This sticky note procedure provides the teacher a quick visual way to monitor the participation of each group. In addition, the teacher should be circulating, questioning and providing assistance as necessary.
Once students have been allowed to review the work of others, allow them to return to their group's work and review the comments left by their classmates. If there is something that can be improved, allow them a few minutes to revise their work.
Allow students to move back to their seats. Each student will turn to a shoulder partner (the person sitting next to or nearest to them) and tell them:
- One thing that they have learned.
- One thing that they still may have a question about.
- One thing that was most interesting from the video or discussion.
- One word that summarizes the cell theory.
Once the first person has finished, allow the neighbor to respond. Once they have listened to each other allow them to answer or assist each other with the questions. Finally, solicit 3-5 responses from shoulder partners for each question and document on the board.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
Students will be completing the following activities with the teacher that assist in fostering a better student understanding of the lesson during the teaching phase:
- Anticipation Guide - activate student prior knowledge
- Facilitated Group Discussion - deepen student understanding
- Gallery Walk - communicate knowledge with others
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Students will create a timeline that documents important discoveries in the development of cell theory in chronological order.
The teacher will play the TED-Ed video "The Wacky History of Cell Theory" by Lauren Royal-Woods (6:12).
The YouTube video "Introduction to Cell Theory" by AronRa (8:17) can serve as an alternative, if needed.
Students will take notes on the important scientists in the development of cell theory and their contributions. Students will then use their notes to conduct research online or in their textbook. They should be looking for dates and more details regarding each scientist's specific contribution.
Students may choose how to display their timeline for others (Prezi, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, paper/poster, rap, poem, or video). The teacher will use the attached rubric to evaluate the timelines.
Allow students to read a written version of the cell theory in their textbooks and compare/contrast the accuracy of the video to the text. What can be said about the source of each media? Who is more credible? What are the major discrepancies (errors/omissions) between the video and print source?
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
Allow students to make modifications/revisions to their previous answers to the Engagement question from the beginning and share their ideas with the class. Students should connect that the lines on their hand represent cells and their body contains many millions of cells all working together to perform a different function to maintain homeostasis. Skin cells are numerous and protect our body from foreign invaders. We are multicellular organisms, but other organisms may be unicellular.)
Review the concepts discovered during the independent practice. Go through the timeline, ensuring that students have identified the major scientists and their discoveries. Ask students how scientific knowledge changed as a result of the development of the microscope?
After grading the timelines, set up a gallery walk within the classroom or in the library that showcases student's work. If possible, have computers and/or tablets available to display Prezis, PowerPoints, and other computer-generated timelines. (Note: If it isn't possible to display all of the timelines, then select the most creative timeline displays in various mediums to present to the class as a showcase.)
The timeline assignment will serve as a summative assessment. Timelines will be evaluated with the attached timeline rubric.
Students will complete the anticipation guide before watching a video to see what they already know and what misconceptions they may have about cells. These should be corrected as students watch the video. Students will re-evaluate their answers on the anticipation guide after watching the video.
The teacher will circulate while students are completing their research, asking questions and ensuring that students are on the right track.
Feedback to Students
Students will be assessed on multiple platforms. Teachers should always review assessment results with students and provide feedback as soon as possible. Provide rubrics to students while giving the assignment so that students have a goal and understand what will be expected of them.