In this lesson’s activities, students will use scientific inquiry, computer modeling, and graphical analysis in order to extend concepts from a specific lesson example to broader general trends and themes in biology. The following criteria are from The Living Environment Core Curriculum, from the University of the State of New York and the New York State Education Department:
Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.
Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.
Broad Objectives: Students will investigate the basic structure and function of bacterial DNA and how mutations affect bacterial populations. After the activities, students should be able to explain the ways mutations can be both harmful and beneficial. The expected product in this lesson objective is a computer-simulated bacterial culture and a graph of the population growth curves. The condition for demonstrating success at this task is activity in student-pairs and small groups. The criterion for success is an example of adaptations in other organisms and an explanation of how the environment determines the efficacy and value of the adaptation. Students are expected to extend and apply the concepts of mutation and adaptation to all organisms in general.
Learning Outcomes/Specific Objectives: Students will be able to draw the basic structure of DNA, use computer modeling to show how mutation can result in both adaptation and maladaptation, and graph the population growth curves of simulated bacterial populations. Students will submit a 1 page written summary of the lesson and activities, including the drawing of DNA and the growth curve graph, in order to demonstrate their proficiency.
Set Induction and Content: Bacterial population growth.
Activities: For these activities, each student will pair with another, review the text section on bacterial genetics, and apply their knowledge to this and later activities. First, students will discuss the textbook section and then answer the following questions. Each student-pair will then join another pair for the simulation activity.
Literacy Strategy: This proposed lesson utilizes computer modeling and small group discussion.
Closure, Evaluation, and Assignment: After having engaged in classroom activities, students will provide examples of adaptations in other organisms in their write up. In the class discussion, students will talk about why mutations are important in the fields and subfields of biology, especially medicine. The class will discuss how the principles and processes represented in the simulation are explored through laboratory activities, including real-time bacterial culture plate incubation. For the next lesson on bacterial genetics, students can use the textbook chapters and biology websites to investigate the topic of antibiotic resistance and how genetic recombination produces new bacterial strains.
The primary file is a lesson plan, accompanied by supplemental files. In the supplemental zipped files, you will find:
- Student worksheets
- Lesson plan
- Powerpoint presentations
Butler, Nathan and Cummings, Matthew, "Bacteria Growth Lesson Plan" (2013). Lesson Plans. 333.
Agent Sheets, Excel
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