02 October 2011

Instructional Design Unit Plan for Natural Selection

Unit plan for Natural Selection includes:

Educational goals and a statement of rationale for the goals:
Overall Goal - By incorporating technology, in the form of games and simulations, into biology lessons, I will create curriculum that students consider highly motivating, but that will also, at the same time, improve student content knowledge, build student conceptual knowledge, and increase student problem-solving skills.

Specific Student Learning Goal For Natural Selection – Students will play the game “Who Wants to Live a Million Years,” in addition to their prescribed lessons, to learn about natural selection and evolution. Students will address Benchmark: SC.912.L.15.3 (which states: Describe how biological diversity is increased by the origin of new species and how it is decreased by the natural process of extinction (FLDOE 2009)) by playing the game “Who Wants to Live a Million Years?” and completing the corresponding lessons & worksheets.

Description of learners: social background, experiential background, developmental level, motivation, knowledge level, and learning style:
Students who attend this school have withdrawn from public school for various reasons. Some are over 18, but the majority of students are under 18 years old. There are a variety of social and cultural backgrounds and learning levels. For example, some are poor, some are rich, some are Caucasian, some are African –American or another minority, some dropped out of public school because classes were boring or going too slowly, some dropped out of public school because they had fallen behind and couldn’t catch up, and so on. One major difference from public school is that all students must TABE at least at a level 9. This means that all the students in class can read, at the very least, at a 9th grade level, which isn’t always true of public school classrooms. Any curriculum has to be varied to fit a variety of learning styles and attention spans. Technology is promoted at my school and most students really seem to enjoy technology infused curricula.

Instructional objectives for Natural Selection:
- Students will explore how several varieties of a species can, through natural selection, evolve into one new species with the most successful and heritable traits to help students comprehend and apply Natural Selection and Evolution.

- Given the information, students will conclude that Natural Selection is a primary mechanism leading to evolutionary change (i.e., survival of the fittest / those with the traits to live pass those traits on to their offspring). This will allow them to apply, analyze, and synthesize their own species to try to succeed, evolutionarily speaking.

- Students will identify the natural processes in the environment and interactions with other species may cause extinction (i.e., disease, climate change, predation, and so on) so that they can evaluate the situation and possibly synthesize their own preventions of extinction for their species.

Performance measures that evaluate student learning outcomes, including that learning which occurs prior to, during, and following the instruction:
I will ask students pre-lesson questions. I will also ask them procedural questions within the game/simulation to help them pay attention to how the game/simulation works. I will ask them questions about how their game/simulation is working and why “this or that” (will be specific to a game/simulation and event) has occurred. I will also ask them post-lesson questions to assess their gain in knowledge and abilities after completing the game/simulation. Please see the attached lessons for specifics.

Strategies and materials for each objective:The game/simulation sets up the scenario for each objective to be obtained. The questions asked during the lesson will help clarify student thought and hopefully measure student gain in knowledge. Please see attached lesson for specific strategies and materials for each of the objectives.