Teaching Artifacts

Introduction

Via this page you can view  examples and evidence of instructional and assessment strategies that I have used in the classroom including standards based lesson plans, worksheets, and student work samples.  In the spirit of the dynamic nature of the teaching portfolio, this section will be modified and updated from time to time.

The next section highlights examples of instruction and assessment that I used as a student teacher of high school general biology at Pennsbury High School.  A helpful tool that I use in lesson planning and preparation is this  Lesson_Planning_Guide&TemplateExample #2 below includes an entry from my teaching reflection journal.

Example #1:  Organic Chemistry Molecular Modeling
»Background

This hands-on activity was part of the class unit on the chemistry of life.  The “big idea” is that, in order to sustain life, living organisms depend upon chemical substances and the chemical reactions that take place in living systems.  Underlying the big idea is the fundamental biological concept of systems.  In general, a particular level in a system consists of smaller parts and itself is a smaller part of a larger system.  Because chemical compounds are the building blocks of living things, understanding biology requires understanding the chemistry of life.  Carbon has an
exceptional standing in the chemistry of life because of two features endowing it with the capacity to form millions of different molecular chain and ring structures with unique chemical and functional properties:  (a) carbon can bind to itself via strong covalent bonds leading to the formation of molecular chain and ring structures and (2)  carbon can also form strong covalent bonds with a large number of elements including oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus.

»Purpose

Using an organic chemistry model set is an active approach to understanding the unique chemical features of carbon as well as the binding properties and structural organization of organic macromolecules in three dimensions. The experience of “building” molecules offers an up close view of how elements assemble into molecules and the nature of chemical bonding.

»Elements

Example #2:  Biology Laboratory Exercise-Introduction to the Microscope
»Background

This lab was part of the introductory section to the unit on cell structure and function.  The key biological concepts and learning goals of this section were to understand that all living things are made up of cells, how the development of the microscope was a powerful technological
advancement not only in science and biology but for humankind as well, and how a deeper understanding of cell structure and function led to development of Cell Theory, which is a foundational concept of biology.

»Purpose

The instructional and learning goals of this lab were to introduce students to the basic skills of light microscopy and to provide them with a deeper understanding for how scientists carry out their work.  The skills acquired in this introductory lab would be applied to and assessed in a
 follow-up microscope lab comparing plant and animal cells.

»Elements

–Student lab packet and worksheetsIntro_Microscope_Lab_Packet
–Student microscope diagram Light_Microscope_Diagram
–Tutorial in microscopy and biological drawings Lab_Intro_Microscope_Basics


Example #3:  Cell Function Poster Project
»Background

This project was assigned during the cell structure and function unit to accompany the lessons on eukaryotic cell structure, organelles, and function.  The lessons compared and contrasted the features of animal and plant cells with an emphasis on the relationship between structure and function.

»Purpose

The key instructional and learning goals of this assignment were to achieve a deeper understanding biological levels of organization, beginning with atoms and proceeding, with increasing complexity, to molecules, cells, tissues, and so on all the biosphere.  The project was
discussed in class at the time of the assignment.  Students were shown examples of posters from past years.  They were shown work of varying levels of proficiency  along with an explanation of how the rubric criteria and grading were applied to the work.

»Elements

               Student poster example 1                                               Student poster example 2

           Student poster example 3                                               Student poster example 4

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