Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Students should be able to:
- Explain different symbiotic relationships that occur between organisms, specifically parasitism.
- Provide examples of adaptations/behaviors that allow for survival.
- Use specific examples from multiple texts to explain how social and metabolic adaptations observed today help support Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of a text.
- Integrate multiple sources of information to address a single writing prompt.
- 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?
For science students should have:
- Basic knowledge of interactions among animals and how these interactions can affect the species. This link provides access to a Khan Academy resource with information on the different types of relationships found within an ecosystem.
- Basic information about mandrills in general. This website from the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology provides background on the mandrill.
- Basic knowledge on the different types of adaptations and behaviors found in animals and plants that have led to success. The BBC website Nature does a very thorough job defining and providing examples of specific adaptations and behaviors. On the website, there are a variety of links students can use to explore things like social behaviors, communication, and the use of the different senses.
- Basic knowledge on natural selection and Darwin's Theory of Survival of the Fittest. This video provides information on this topic.
- Basic knowledge on coevolution and how two or more species can affect how each species evolves. This link to the Understanding Evolution site provides basic background for students.
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 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 help them select the correct definition for a word with multiple meanings based on how it is used in a text. They should also be able to use word parts to help them determine a word's meaning.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. Text features include things like the title, subtitle, headings, images and captions, bold font, etc.
- Based on the provided writing rubric, 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), 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).
- Teachers might wish to provide students with a list of transition words from this site to help them with the summative assessment.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
1. How do healthy mandrills act around other mandrills infected with the parasite Balantidium coli?
Mandrills are well known for grooming each other as ways to promote social bonds and reduce stress levels in each other. In the research study presented in the article, it was noted that the mandrills avoided grooming certain individuals at certain times. Scientists observed grooming patterns and tested fecal samples for protozoan parasites. Scientists then determined that healthy mandrills engaged in a type of quarantine behavior where infected mandrills were avoided.
2. Why is the use of smelling feces important for the mandrills in avoiding parasitic infections?
Prior studies found that mandrills have an extremely keen sense of smell and are very sensitive to detecting chemical signals for mating and social cues. Scientists discovered that feces infected with the B. coli parasite had a significant change in chemistry compared to normal feces. When mandrills sniffed the feces that contained the parasites, they immediately pulled away. The smelling of the feces is an olfactory cue allowing the mandrills to avoid parasites.
3. What types of strategies have made parasites successful?
Parasites are dependent on a host for food, protection, and transportation. Although not the intent, most parasites cause harm to their host. As a result, they need to be able to move from host to host as needed. Some parasites are able to spread by contact such as lice crawling from one person's head to another. Other parasites affect the nervous systems and brains of their host producing behaviors that increase the spread of the parasite.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Ask students what allows certain organisms to be successful in the environment they live in. Students will likely respond that they have adaptations that allow them to survive in their environment or they have evolved adaptations that make them successful.
2. Ask students: What are three major types of adaptations? Show the following pictures to help them come up with the correct answers. (Image A, Image B, Image C)
Direct questions so that students may identify Image A as a behavioral adaptation, Image B as a structural or morphological adaptation, and Image C as a physiological adaptation.
*If teachers need more information on the types of adaptations, this resource from BBC Bitesize provides quick definitions and examples.
3. Explain to students that one type of behavioral adaptation is living in groups. Many different types of animals live in social groups and the reasons for living in groups has been debated for many years among scientists.
- Have students make a list of the pros and cons of animals living in groups. Discuss the lists as a class.
- Pros might include protection, hunting together, easier to find mates, etc.
- Cons may include having to share resources, diseases/pathogens spread more easily.
4. Show this picture of two mandrills grooming each other. Inform students grooming is a behavior that decreases stress in the population and also helps develop a social bond between the mandrills. However, according to scientists, parasite transmission is one of the major costs of living in social groups.
5. Finally tell students they will be reading an article from Smithsonian.com that describes how mandrills have adaptive behaviors that help prevent the spread of parasites within their population.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the article "Gut Check: Mandrills Sniff Poop to Avoid Peers With Parasites." For class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph of the text.
2. Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
3. Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: "Gut Check: Mandrills Sniff Poop to Avoid Peers With Parasites"
- Subtitle: Researches have documented one of the first instances of social avoidance in a non-human animal
- The online version of the article includes images with captions
4. Have students fill out the note-taking guide as they read the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- 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 and use a dictionary to define the words. Make sure to provide students access to a dictionary.
- The note-taking guide allows for students to select and define their own unknown words, but teachers could modify the guide to already include some words they want all students to define.
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 this sample answer key 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. Some tips are provided in the answer key to help teachers direct students to where use of context clues or word parts might help students in determining a word's meaning.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students may think that immunity is only attained within the body. Explain to students that behavior modification may also aid in prevention of disease. Bring to students' attention their behavior around a classmate that may be sneezing.
- Students often believe parasites only infect non-human animals. Explain that there are a wide variety of different parasites affecting humans and many of those can lead to death. This CDC site has a list of common human parasitic diseases.
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.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
1. 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.
2. 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 the text-dependent questions sample answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before students complete the writing prompt for the summative assessment, 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.
2. Before assigning students the writing prompt, have them read aloud as a class the following article: "Against the Tide: Fish Quickly Adapt to Lethal Levels of Pollution. The information in this article will be integrated into their response to the writing prompt. Conduct a brief discussion to make sure students understand the key points of the article. (**See Extensions section, item 5, for a lesson plan that provides text-dependent questions and other resources for this article.)
3. To close the lesson, have the class discuss the "future studies" mentioned by Dr. Poirotte in "Gut Check: Mandrills Sniff Poop to Avoid Peers with Parasites." Discussion should include the importance of said studies to the understanding of mandrill social behavior.
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 both texts as they construct their response.
2. 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.
3. Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address.
The prompt: Write a letter to a "Darwin skeptic" (someone who does not believe any of the theories proposed by Charles Darwin) and explain how adaptations arise in order to help species survive. Use specific examples from both "Gut Check: Mandrills Sniff Poop to Avoid Peers with Parasites" and "Against the Tide: Fish Quickly Adapt to Lethal Levels of Pollution."
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."