Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Teacher Talk" Lesson (Prokaryotes vs. Eukaryotes)

Design a Lesson that incorporates teacher talk and effective questioning strategies.

TITLE OF LESSON: Unit 3; Lesson 2—Prokaryotes vs Eukaryotes

9th grade Biology

Enduring Understanding
Cells are the smallest basic unit of life. All living things are made of cells. All new cells come from preexisting cells. There are two main categories of cells: prokaryotes and eukaryotes. They have distinct similarities and differences. An example of a prokaryote is a bacterial cell. An example of a eukaryote is an animal cell, or a plant cell.
B. Essential Questions
o   What are cells?
o   What are some characteristics of eukaryotes?
o   What are some characteristics of prokaryotes?
o   What are the key differences and similarities between a eukaryote and a prokaryote?
o   What are some examples of prokaryotes and eukaryotes?
1. Cell Biology: The fundamental life processes of plants and animals depend on a variety of chemical reactions that occur in specialized areas of the organism’s cells.
c. Students know how prokaryotic cells, eukaryotic cells (including those from plants and animals), and viruses differ in complexity and general structure.
·         Listening & Speaking: 1 (Intermediate): Listen attentively to stories and information and identify important details and concepts by using both verbal and nonverbal responses.
·         Listening & Speaking: 7(EA): Respond to messages by asking questions, challenging statements, or offering examples that affirm the message. 
After being presented with content on cells, prokaryotes and eukaryotes and studying them under a microscope, students will be able to explain the differences and similarities between prokaryotes and eukaryotes by drawing a model of each cell with labels, share their explanations orally and written (think-pair-share, quick write), and create a Venn diagram illustrating the similarities and differences.    



Cells are the smallest basic unit of life. They are made up of millions of molecules and are composed of all 4 macromolecules: lipids, nucleic acids, proteins, and, yes, even carbohydrates (connect to Unit 2). As a former cell biologist, my absolute, hands-down, most favorite part of being a scientist was spending hours and hours in front of the fluorescent microscope, examining the inside of the cell like a miniature spaceship navigating through the cell like a galaxy (see Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage, a class sci-fi fantasy about miniature dudes who explore the human body in a miniature spaceship).

(If I was leading my own class, I would begin by showing a clip of the Fantastic Voyage, followed by a short show-and-tell of some photographs I took during my time as a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow).

To review the previous lesson where students learned new vocabulary, ask a few students to share their definitions of: eukaryote, prokaryote, and organelle. We will come up with a class definition, which I will write on the board.                

Instruction: I will present content on cells, eukaryotes, and prokaryotes. Students will take Cornell notes during my talk. I will ask students questions periodically to check for understanding. These questions include:

n  All living things are made of ________.

n  Where do cells come from?

n  What are the two cell categories?

n  What are 3 unique properties of prokaryotic cells?

n  What are 3 unique properties of eukaryotic cells?      

Independent Practice: I will instruct students to work in pairs to complete a Venn diagram to compare and contrast prokaryotes and eukaryotes.                                       
Closure: I will show a picture of a eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell taken at a very high resolution. They will modify their drawings as needed, or even draw a new one. I will assign students a 1 paragraph “Quick Write” on comparing and contrasting prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.                                                        

A. Diagnostic/Entry Level: Before launching into new content about cells, I will ask them to share with the class what they’re conception of a cell is, what they’re function(s) are, and what they make up (organisms, tissues, etc.).     

B. Formative – Progress Monitoring:
I will check for understanding during the talk by asking students to “Think/Pair/Share” when prompted by questions, every 2-3 slides. I will also circulate to assist individuals and check for understanding as students work on their Venn diagrams of differences and similarities between eukaryotes and prokaryotes (Venn diagram attached).

C. Summative:
For today’s lesson, students will be assessed on their abilities to chart the key differences and similarities between eukaryotes and prokaryotes. They will also be asked to write a 1 paragraph “Quick Write”, comparing and contrasting prokaryotes and eukaryotes. These “Quick Writes” will be randomly shared with the class (3), and I will also check them individually.            

·         PowerPoint presentation “Types of Cells”
·         Lab for examining eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells
·         Venn diagram for differences and similarities between eukaryote and prokaryote
·         Venn diagram answer key
·         Link to my blog for more resources on Cells (Unit 3).
·         Link to resources in Google Docs:

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