Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Compare and contrast modern-day claims about why we yawn to historical claims, and explain how evidence in the text shows that scientists have relied on previous research and claims to propel new investigation and scientific inquiry
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to explain how scientific knowledge is strengthened/made more durable through frequent challenges/examinations
- Use various vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific terms in the text
- Construct a multi-paragraph response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point(s), utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to science:
- Misconceptions: Students often get the idea that science is nothing more than a list of facts. Students should understand that science is a process, a way to help understand the natural world, and that although commonly accepted claims can represent the most plausible explanation surrounding a given topic, such claims are not necessarily deemed "proved" or "truth."
- Students should have a basic knowledge of various body systems. These links have resources that can be used to review the following body systems: circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, neurological.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial. In addition, students should have some dictionary skills that will enable them to look up words with multiple meanings and determine the most appropriate meaning based on how a word is used in a text.
- Students should be able to respond to a prompt by producing a clear, organized multi-paragraph response manner that includes an introduction to establish the main point(s), body paragraphs that support the main point(s) and features relevant and specific textual evidence, along with a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Often students will remember to use transitions at the start of the body paragraphs or conclusion paragraph, but will forget to use them in the midst of paragraphs to connect ideas or to make the content within each paragraph flow. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transition phrases to help them. This site provides transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
Main investigation questions: While students are reading and answering questions about the article, please use the questions below to help guide students' thinking.
1. What are some claims surrounding reasons animals yawn?
Organisms yawn when they are tired, when they first wake up, when they are bored, or when they need to equalize the pressure in their ears.
2. What happens physically to the body during a yawn?
Yawning is a coordinated movement of several body systems. During a yawn, your jaw stretches as your mouth gapes open. A long, deep breath inwards is followed an exhalation. A yawn would include the chest, diaphragm (muscle found in mammals), larynx (voice box), trachea, lungs, and blood vessels.
3. How does yawning serve as a physiological function, a regulation of body state?
There are different claims about the physiological function of yawning. Hippocrates hypothesized that yawning removed bad air from the lungs. In the 17th and 18th centuries, scientists challenged Hippocrates's theory and focused on the circulatory system instead. They proposed that yawning causes an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen in the blood, which improved motor function and alertness. Scientists today have proposed theories such as a contagious factor and a connection to the brain in an attempt to maintain homeostasis and thermoregulation.
4. How does yawning serve as a social function?
Some scientists view yawning as a way to communicate boredom or stress to a social group.
5. What is scientific knowledge and how is it strengthened/made more durable?
Scientific knowledge is knowledge that has been gathered/accumulated through study and organized/interpreted. Scientific knowledge is strengthened through the continual questioning and re-examination of what has previously been presented through scientific claims. When scientists frequently challenge currently-accepted claims through new investigations and scientific argumentation, scientific knowledge becomes more durable and science as a whole (often even society) benefits.
6. What are some ways in which scientific knowledge evolves?
Some scientists help change currently accepted scientific knowledge by seeking to question "why?" and "how?" while examining what we know to be plausible regarding a subject. Often other scientists' recent "discoveries" or examinations of a subject lead to the exploration of related topics or to the study of a topic based on new claims presented in other areas. Consider the yawn—scientists could have stopped seeking answers to the reasons for this behavior when Hippocrates first produced a reasonable explanation (and, indeed, it was quite some time before others produced different claims based on then-currently held scientific knowledge). In this case, as researchers in the 17th and 18th centuries explored different medical systems (such as the circulatory system), a rise in interest in what else could be connected occurred. One result, according to the text, was the evolution of scientific claims now proposing yawning was in fact connected to the circulatory system. In more modern times, as scientists again looked to other aspects of scientific knowledge, claims surrounding the connection to behavioral science emerged, challenging the circulatory connections that held for some time.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by showing a video of people yawning from this YouTube video link. Start the video, titled, "The Yawn-O-Meter (How Long Can You Last?)," as students come into the room, and let it play through the end (3:47).
2. After the video ends, ask the class the question: "Why do we yawn?"
- Many students may be yawning after watching the video. Tell them to think about the action of yawning as they are doing it.
- Call on students to provide responses. Record student responses on the board.
- *Note: The teacher may wish to have students write their responses to the question and describe their reactions during and after the video (did they yawn when they saw others in the video yawning?) prior to discussing the topic with the whole class.
3. Next, ask the class to look at the responses and discuss them with a partner. Ask each group to list the reasons in order from most valid to least valid. Partners should discuss why they believe any of the reasons are invalid with logical reasoning to support their claims.
4. Then, ask the students if, as a class, they can identify a consensus based on the student responses on the board. If necessary, discuss the meaning of scientific consensus. A scientific consensus is a generalized agreement, though it does not have to be unanimous.
5. End the discussion by informing students that they will read an article about yawning and several claims that have been proposed about why we yawn. Tell the students to consider while reading why scientists in the field have not yet been able to reach a consensus about why we yawn. Inform the students that as they are reading the article they should be looking for how claims regarding the reasoning behind yawning have evolved through the centuries.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the article "Everyday Mysteries: Why Do We Yawn?" For class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph. (There are 12 paragraphs beginning with the subtitle "Yawning might serve…" as Paragraph 1.)
2. Provide each student with a copy of the Note-taking Guide. (Note: the Note-taking Guide includes a sample answer key for teachers to use to facilitate discussion/monitor student understanding. Be careful not to distribute copies of the sample answer key to students)
3. Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the article's text features to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Why Do We Yawn?
- Subtitle: Yawning might serve a social function (to communication boredom) and a physiological function (regulation of body state).
- Headings: Why do we yawn?, Theories of contagious yawning
- Captions: Located under each photograph
4. Have students fill out the Note-taking Guide as they read the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in a small group. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- Note: Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the Note-taking Guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words. For domain-specific (subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge and use a print or online dictionary to define the words.
5. If students struggle with determining the meaning of the selected academic vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them:
- Antiquity: any period before the middle ages
- Vertebrates: organism with a backbone
- Thoracic: chest region of the body
- Diaphragm: muscle found only in mammals that separates the abdomen and thoracic cavities. Its function is to change the volume of the thoracic cavity will allows air to be brought into the lungs
- Larynx: The upper part of the trachea, also known as the voice box
- Palate: The roof of the mouth
- Neurotransmitters: chemical messengers, they send signals from one cell to the next
- Hypothalamus: a portion of the brain that controls hunger, body temperature, thirst, fatigue, and circadian rhythms
- Neuropeptide proteins: small protein like molecules used for communication in the nervous system
- Consensus: a general agreement about something
- Jugular: of the neck or the throat
- Sociological: focusing on cultural or environmental factors
- Circadian rhythms: basically like a body clock; controls the 24 hour cycle of most living organisms and is controlled by light and dark
- Psychologist: a professional who studies and evaluates the behavior and mental processes of living organisms
- Empathic: the psychological identification with feelings, thoughts or attitudes of others
To better help students associate some of the domain-specific vocabulary terms to their respective body systems/functions, the teacher may wish to encourage students to record each term in (or beside) the box on the Note-taking Guide of the scientist(s) whose claims focused in each area. For instance, the term "jugular" in the article is linked to the work of Gallup and Gallup (2008), so the term could be placed beside the appropriate box on the Note-taking Guide to help students organize/process the article's content.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?)
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed Note-taking Guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use the sample answer key (included in the Note-taking Guide attachment) to help them assess students' answers.
3. For discussion on students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
1. Scientific theory vs. everyday use of theory. Remind students that the everyday use of the word "theory" is a guess or a hunch with little evidential support. According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, "a scientific theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. Thus, the use of the term theory in science is very different than how it is used in everyday life." In this article, reference to the term theory or theories should really just be thought of as "claims."
2. Scientific consensus requires general agreement (though not necessarily unanimity) among the scientific community based on evidence. As students read beginning in paragraph 7 through the end of the text, they should notice that current day scientists have proposed several theories about why we yawn, challenging their predecessors as well as the work of their contemporaries. Such challenges/examinations to scientific knowledge demonstrate consensus was not reached, and, in fact, these continued explorations helped to strengthened the body of scientific knowledge surrounding why we yawn.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the Text-dependent Questions to complete. (Note: the Text-dependent Questions packet includes a sample answer key for teachers to use to facilitate discussion/monitor student understanding. Be careful not to distribute copies of the sample answer key to students).
2. Remind students should be to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers. Teachers may wish to spend a few minutes discussing with students what this might look like, reviewing criteria for the terms "relevant" and "specific," modeling the process with one of the tasks from the previously completed Note-taking Guide through a Think-aloud activity, etc.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers tot the Text-dependent Questions packet, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use this sample answer key (included in the Text-dependent Questions attachment) to help them assess students' answers. Teachers should refer to this key for common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
Instructions for leading the closing discussion:
1. Before students complete the writing prompt, be sure to review responses to the Text-dependent Questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
2. After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. Going over how the response is structured, pointing out ways to open and close the piece, showing use of effective transitions, and pointing out places to incorporate the natural use of vocabulary can really help students grow in their own writing skills for future writing tasks. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Have students examine how the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph. (Students often struggle with ideas in how to start a written response, and they often want to repeat the prompt back in the first sentence because they are not sure what other options they have. Go over how this writer opened his or her piece of writing. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.)
- As one final option, teachers might want students to use the rubric to provide a score for the sample written response and have them justify the score they gave, possibly providing revision suggestions for any categories they scored lower than a 4.
3. Alternatively, teachers may wish to have students engage in peer-review of the writing responses, using the summative rubric to score a peer's response. Teachers may wish to collect the responses to score themselves as well afterward.
How will the students show that they met the learning objectives? (Writing Prompt)
1. Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They should refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
3. Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt as the teacher goes over it so they will remember to answer all the required parts.
From the time of Hippocrates until now, claims about why we yawn have evolved. Use evidence from the text to compare and contrast current day claims with those from centuries ago. Then, using the evidence regarding the evolution of scientific inquiry/theory surrounding "Why we Yawn?" write to explain how scientific knowledge is strengthened or made more durable because of frequent challenges and examinations.
4. Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
- Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
- Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."