Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Microsoft Office
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: evolution, extinction, bat, bats, Caribbean, Antilles, lesson plan, text complexity
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Identify the impact of extinctions on the biodiversity of an ecosystem.
- Explain the factors involved in the number of species found on island ecosystems.
- Identify the role humans play in extinction events.
- Explain why geographically isolated locations such as islands are ideal locations to study speciation, evolution, and extinction.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use various vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in a 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.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- Students should be familiar with the ecological role that bats play in their ecosystem. This site by Live Science provides information for students and teachers as needed. There are also links to other resources about bats on this page.
- Students should have general knowledge about the theory of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin.
- Teachers may wish to review this theory with students using this video from Crash Course Biology: Evolution: It's a Thing (11:43).
- Students should be made familiar with the term "island biogeography." This video titled "Mangrove Melody" (3:12, uploaded by YouTube user ECOmotion Studios) introduces this idea through song and animation. The presentation is at the elementary level, but the information is correct and easily understood.
- Students should have general familiarity with the principles of speciation and the impact geographic isolation has on the formation of species.
- This idea is important to the writing prompt, so teachers will need to make certain students are comfortable with the idea.
- Teachers may wish to review this theory with students using the Crash Course Biology video Speciation: Of Ligers & Men (10:24) or the Khan Academy tutorial on speciation.
- Perhaps pose the following questions to students to check their understanding of the idea:
- What is geographic isolation? Geographic isolation occurs when two populations are separated by a physical barrier such as a body of water or a mountain. This separation isolates a population and speciation often occurs.
- Why does geographic isolation lead to new species? When populations become isolated from each other, they can no longer reproduce with each other. As a result, they can evolve into two different species.
- What are some examples of speciation due to geographic isolation? The finches Charles Darwin studied evolved into different species on the Galapagos Islands based on the different environments found on the various islands and through the process of natural selection.
- Students should have a basic understanding of the role humans play in the extinction of species. Information on this topic can be found at the Center for Biodiversity.
- 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 aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in this article include the title and subtitle. The online version contains additional images and captions.
- Based on the provided writing rubric, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes the use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and include relevant and specific textual evidence, and 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. This site provides transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- What are some causes of the extinction of a species?
- Some causes of extinction include predation, low birth rates, competition among species, natural disasters, disease, and human influence. In the article, the largest number of bats became extinct after humans arrived on their islands, and recent extinctions have most likely been caused by habitat loss.
- How does extinction affect the biodiversity of an area?
- Extinction events have long-term ecological effects on the communities they take place in. In the Caribbean, the recovery time to regain the bat species that have been lost in the last twenty thousand years is estimated to be 8 million years!
- Why are islands great places to study the effects of extinction as well as speciation?
- Because islands are isolated, they are often home to unique plant and animal life. It is relatively easy to track the evolutionary histories of organisms on an island, so scientists are able to determine what situations effect populations. The number of species on an island results from colonization, extinction, and speciation.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by showing several pictures of somewhat recently extinct animals. Ask students if they recognize any of the animals and, if so, what they all have in common. Some students may know they are examples of extinct animals and will respond that they no longer exist, they are extinct, they are dead, etc.
- Next, ask: what does extinct actually mean? Answers may include that a species has died off or been killed, or that it is no longer present in nature.
- Ask students what they think are some causes of organisms going extinct. Sample responses may include human interference, the effects of climate change, habitat loss, etc.
- Explain that a mammal not often thought of as nearing extinction is the bat, but inform students that in the Caribbean there have been huge losses of bat species in the last 20,000 years for a variety of reasons.
- Show the video from the American Museum of Natural History titled Into the Island of Bats (6:08).
- Discuss with students how the study of bats has helped scientists learn about the natural process of evolution with extinctions and new species formation.
- Finally let students know they will be reading an article that discusses the research conducted by scientists in the Caribbean regarding the effects the loss of species can have on an ecosystem.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Provide each student with a copy of the attached article "Caribbean Bat Species Need 8 Million Years to Recover from Recent Extinction Waves."
- Provide students with copies of the note-taking guide.
- Have them first complete the KWL chart titled "Evolution and Extinction."
- Have students fill out the K (Know) section of the chart prior to reading the text.
- Then have students fill out the W (Want to Know) section of the chart.
- After reading the text, have students fill out the L (Learned) section.
- Have each student complete the vocabulary list.
- Students should complete this chart 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.
- 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. For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge, use context clues, and/or use a dictionary to define the words.
- Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups.
- Distribute a sticky note to each student and have them write on them any questions they may still have regarding the text.
- Address student questions by reading the sticky notes.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment)
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their completed note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, or 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 help them assess students' answers.
- For discussion of 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.
- The teacher may host a group discussion asking students what they believe is the leading cause of extinction among species.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students often think that up until recently, extinction was rare, or that humans have caused the majority of extinctions. Students should know that extinctions have occurred for millions of years due to a variety of natural occurrences.
- Students may believe that except for periodic mass extinction events, extinction is very rare.
- Students should know that extinction is common and is usually not a large event that affects many species.
- Students often believe that individual organisms can deliberately develop new heritable traits because they need them for survival. Students should understand that species cannot develop new traits at will. Instead, new traits are the result of favorable mutations.
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 (How will teachers check for understanding?):
- 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 out 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 help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see Guided Practice, above.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt, be sure to review their responses to the other text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
- After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss:
- 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 where domain-specific vocabulary is used accurately and effectively.
- 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.
- Teachers may have students use the attached 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.
- Have students do a timed "pair share" with a peer in which they discuss what they learned from the text. The teacher can circulate and monitor conversations to check for understanding and misconceptions.
- The teacher may follow-up with some brief closing remarks that address and reflect what he/she overheard while monitoring the peer conversations.
- 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.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over it with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- 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:
- In the article it states that islands are "natural laboratories of evolution." Explain why these Caribbean islands and the bats that live there are ideal for scientists studying the effects of extinction.
- 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.
Accommodations & Recommendations
For students struggling with the science content:
- This video titled "Myths and Misconceptions about Evolution - Alex Gendler" (4:22, uploaded by TED-Ed) offers a great introduction to evolution and some of the misconceptions about it for students who may benefit from receiving the information in a visual format. Teachers may want to show it before students read the article.
- Teachers may wish to show this map of the islands found in the Caribbean Sea so students have a general idea of where the bats are found.
- Teachers may wish to show the pictures that are linked with the online version of the article.
For readers struggling with the KWL chart:
- Teachers might want to fill in each portion of the chart with one example to model appropriate text for each column.
For readers struggling with the text:
- It might benefit students to chunk the text. Have students independently read section one, and then have several strong readers read section one aloud.
- Then, have students highlight selected vocabulary for section one on the article. Work with students to model ways to define a few of the academic vocabulary words to get them started. The teacher can think aloud as he or she decides which vocabulary strategy or strategies to use to define a word, and think aloud while deciding which meaning from a dictionary entry with multiple meanings would be the best fit for how the word is used in the context of the article.
- When students are ready, have them share their answers and provide corrective verbal feedback as needed, allowing students to make corrections to their work. Then repeat this process for the other sections of the text if needed. Or, at least have students complete the graphic organizer for the next section and receive feedback on their work before they move on.
For struggling writers:
- It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their response. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Introduction paragraph
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A few specifics from the text they might want to use to support or explain the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Body paragraphs:
- Topic sentences (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Have students create a comic strip or a children's book explaining extinction using a Caribbean bat as their main character.
- Have students find another article on the NSF's Environmental Research and Education page and summarize their findings.
- Consider teaching the CPALMS lesson "Discovering New Kiwis" (Resource ID 163249) as another example of geographical isolation.
- Have students explore other conservation efforts that are ongoing in the Caribbean and report their findings back to the class. The Active Caribbean website provides information for students to begin their research.
Suggested Technology: Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, 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: Michelle Marshall
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.