This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article from the National Science Foundation discusses research conducted in the Antarctic concerning the notothenioid fish, which contains "antifreeze" proteins. The proteins prevent the fish from freezing in the cold waters of the Southern Ocean, but it was also discovered that these same proteins prevent ice crystals from melting when temperatures warm. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 11, 12
Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: scientific method, antifreeze proteins, adaptations, notothenoid, Antarctica, text complexity, lesson plan
FCR-STEMLearn Literacy in STEM 2017
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Describe and explain what characterizes "good" science and its methods.
- Explain the pros and cons for notothenioid fish of possessing antifreeze proteins.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Determine the central idea(s) of the text.
- Determine the meaning of selected academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes a main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion or concluding statement.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- Students should be familiar with the Antarctic ecosystem and the organisms that live there. This site from Discovering Antarctica provides a variety of information for students and teachers.
- Students should be familiar with notothenoid fish, which is the main species found in the Southern Ocean and is discussed in the text. This site provides information.
- Students should be familiar with the previous research on notothenioid fish and antifreeze proteins. There is an abundance of information on this topic, depending on the direction the teacher wishes to take the lesson.
- Students should be familiar with the characteristics of strong science practices. This site from UC-Berkeley provides a brief list of the characteristics defining "good" science practices.
For 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 using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial, as would knowledge of word parts and dictionary skills.
- Based on the rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion or concluding statement 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. This site provides examples.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- What were the main findings of the research described in the article?
The research discovered that the antifreeze proteins used to prevent the notothenioid fish from freezing to death in their Antarctic habitat also prevent the ice crystals from melting when the fish are in warmer temperatures. When these fish were found in warmer waters during the summer, the internal ice crystals did not melt at temperatures at which they should have. Scientists believe the accumulation of ice crystals over time in the fish may be detrimental to their health.
- Why does the continuous research on the Antarctic fish and their antifreeze proteins exemplify "good" science practices?
This research has been ongoing for over four decades and continues to provide new and exciting discoveries in the field of biology. The new information discovered leads to even more questions that continue to be researched and explored. The science practices are sound and consistent. Not only does this research specifically answer questions about the antifreeze proteins, it has helped explain and promote a deeper understanding of science and biology as a whole.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by showing an image of the Antarctic landscape. Ask students if they know the area the picture represents. Expected answers will most likely be the Arctic or Antarctic. Explain to students they are looking at the Antarctic. The teacher may wish to spend a few minutes distinguishing between the Arctic and Antarctic.
- Ask students to brainstorm a list of animals that live here. Expected answers may include penguins, whales, seals, and fish.
- Ask students what type of adaptations animals would need to possess in order to be successful in this extreme environment. Students might say layers of fat or feathers for insulation, being able to hold their breath a long time while swimming, being able to go a long time without food, etc.
- Inform students that one of the most unique adaptations is found in a specific group of Antarctic notothenioid fish. Show this video that describes the discovery of the fish and explains its adaptations.
- Finally, tell students there has been research conducted since the late 1960s on the notothenioid fish and the antifreeze proteins found in its blood. Let them know they will be reading an article from the National Science Foundation titled "Antifreeze Proteins in Antarctic Fish Prevent both Freezing and Melting," which describes research on the possible negative consequences of these proteins.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Provide each student a copy of the article "Antifreeze Proteins in Antarctic Fish Prevent Both Freezing and Melting," or make it available to students electronically.
- For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to have students number each paragraph of the article. If using an electronic copy of the article, students can use a PDF mark-up tool (several tools are available as free downloads).
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide. Have students complete this guide during or after their first reading of the article. Make sure to provide print or online dictionaries for students to use for the vocabulary section. Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups.
- Based on the needs and skills of 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 (context clues, word parts, dictionary skills). For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge or use a dictionary to define the words.
Suggestions for context clues:
- Accumulate (Paragraph 1): gather or build up. Students should be able to determine the meaning of the word by context based on the phrase "inside their bodies."
- Frigid (Paragraph 3): very cold. The text mentions the "frigid" sea encircles Antarctica and describes the seawater as icy.
- Ecosystem (Paragraph 8): a community of organisms and its environment functioning as an ecological unit. Students may need to use a dictionary to determine the meaning of the term if they are not familiar with it from previous science classes.
- Substantial (Paragraph 13): considerable in quantity. Students should use the context clue of "11 years of recordings" and then extrapolate how that number references the lifespan of the fish.
Formative assessment can come in the form of the following:
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers should use the sample answer key provided at the end of the note-taking guide to assess students' answers.
Common errors or misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- The Arctic cod also has antifreeze proteins in its blood, even though it is not related to the notothenioid fish. This is an example of convergent evolution, and students may wish to read the abstract from the article titled "Convergent Evolution of Antifreeze Glycoproteins in Antarctic Notothenioid Fish and Arctic Cod," from the National Center for Biotechnology Information about this idea.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative assessment can come in the form of the following:
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers should use the sample answer key provided at the end of the text-dependent questions to assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the answer key for the text-dependent questions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing assignment for the summative assessment, review the responses to the text-dependent questions they completed earlier. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
- 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 detailed written response. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with anLCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- How the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph; have students identify the main point of the piece. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- Have students examine each of the body paragraphs and explain how each supports the main point of the piece.
- Have students identify where the writer effectively uses textual evidence from the article for support of his or her points.
- Have students identify the use of transition words or phrases that make the ideas flow.
- Ask students to identify effective and accurate use of domain-specific vocabulary (biomass, ecosystems, superheated) and academic vocabulary (adverse, frigid, accumulation).
- Have students read the final paragraph to see how the writer wrapped up the piece and connected back to the main point established in the introduction.
This link takes you to another posting of the same article that students read. Have students listen to the sound bite from co-author Paul Cziko and, using information from the NSF article and the audio, explain why the acquisition of certain adaptations often results in trade offs and compromises that must be made by organisms.
Sample answer: The notothenioid fish is extremely successful at thriving in an extreme environment in which few other organisms would survive. These fish have an adaptation in which the presence of "antifreeze" proteins in their body ensures their blood won't freeze when they are in subfreezing temperatures. Unfortunately, the adaptation that has made them so successful also comes with a negative and unintended effect. The proteins prevent ice crystals from growing in the fish, but these same proteins prevent the ice crystals from melting even in warmer temperatures. The possibility exists that the accumulation of these ice crystals can have negative health effects for the fish.
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. If using the attached rubric to assess students' work, they should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion or concluding statement. They should refer back to the text as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over it with them so they will know how their written responses will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address:
- 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 conducting Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Accommodations & Recommendations
For students struggling with the science content:
- To help students better understand the geography of the text, show them a map of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean.
- To help students understand the concept of antifreeze proteins better, have them read this NSF text on the topic.
For struggling readers:
- It might benefit students to break the text into sections. Have students independently read section one, and then have several strong readers read that section aloud. Teachers can determine how they want to break the text into sections, since text headings are not provided.
- Then, have students highlight (on their copy of the text) the vocabulary from the note-taking guide that appear in the first section. The teacher can work with students to model ways to define a few of the vocabulary words to get them started. Then students can work independently to define the meanings of the remaining words for that section. Students can report out their meanings and receive feedback from the teacher. This process can be repeated for the other sections of the text if needed.
- Depending on the needs and skills of students, the following words were not included on the note-taking guide but might need to be added: enable, adapt, sequencing, evolution.
- Finally, have students complete the central idea questions, share out their answers, and receive feedback on their work.
For struggling writers:
- Have students research the recent findings on how the antifreeze proteins work and report back to the class.
- Have students research other animals that have the capability of withstanding cold temperatures and those who also use the antifreeze proteins. This site from the National Wildlife Federation, titled "Getting through Winter: Four Animals that Flirt with Freezing," lists four animals that are not notothenioid fish that have similar capabilities.
- Have students research another article from the NSF Polar News Release site and write a summary of the main idea of the article.
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Ellen Muse
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.