In this approximatley 20 to 25 minute lecture activity, students work collaboratively in groups to learn about the genetic basis of, and molecular mechanisms behind, the variation observed in squirrel coat color. As components of the activity, students will respond in groups to clicker style questions, and will work together to complete a worksheet that, ultimately, requires the construction of a model to represent the gene-to-phenotype sequence that results in the coat color variation observed in a population.
This tidbit includes a variety of instructional and active learning strategies, including think-pair-share, group worksheets and clicker questions, modeling exercises, etc.
This tidbit was developed as a result of instructors wanting students to be able to explain how cellular and molecular processes can provide variability on which natural selection can act at the population level and recognize this in multiple biological systems. From this original goal, specific learning outcomes were identified and composed, and all subsequent activity design was aligned with these intended outcomes.
Formative assessment activities include:
Diverse learning styles will be accommodated through the use of a variety of methods, information is presented both aurally and visually, students have opportunity to both read and write, groups will be composed of diverse learners, and inclusive language is used.
Squirrel Tidbit Plan of Activities (Timeline)
Squirrel Tidbit Executive Summary
Squirrel Tidbit Presentation (PowerPoint)
- Valerie Gilbert (email@example.com)
- Liz Beggrow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Jon Picking (email@example.com)
- Kelsey R. Bowers (firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facilitated by David Sovic
Students will explain how cellular and molecular processes can provide variability on which natural selection can act at the population level and recognize this in multiple biological systems
Students should be able to….
The worksheet should be used in tandem with the powerpoint presentation.
0:00 – 2:00 min: Introduce activity, hand out worksheets to groups of 3-4 students.
2:00 – 5:00 min: Have students work on worksheet questions 1 and 2 in groups. (Tidbit Learning Outcome 1)
5:00 – 7:00 min: Show example flowchart, explain steps, allow students time to revise their flowcharts.
7:00 – 11:00 min: First 5 clicker questions to check understanding of squirrel color reading. (Tidbit Learning Outcomes 2 and 4)
11:00 – 13:00 min: Ask for students to share responses to worksheet question 3 (Tidbit Learning Outcomes 2 and 4); show/explain slide with possible responses.
13:00 – 15:00 min: Describe amino acid deletion sequence, ask deletion clicker question, reveal/explain answer. (Tidbit Learning Outcome 2)
15:00 – 16:00 min: Allow students to do Punnett square (WS question 5), and ask corresponding clicker question.
16:00 – 18:00 min: Ask “trick” clicker question on selection; allow students to discuss in groups advantages/disadvantages of black color (WS question 6). (Tidbit Learning Outcome 3)
18:00 – 20:00 min: Clicker questions on selection/squirrel color. (Tidbit Learning Outcome 3)
20:00 – 22:00 min: Allow students time in groups to complete worksheet question 7 on squirrel color flowchart. (Tidbit Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 3).
22:00 – 23:00 min: Show example flowchart, explain steps, allow students time to revise their flowcharts.
23:00 – 25:00 min: Introduce novel system (HIV) slide; ask final clicker question on novel system. (Tidbit Learning Outcome 5)
Post-tidbit: Further questions on HIV example or other novel examples can be given as a homework assignment/Carmen quiz/recitation activity to further reinforce Tidbit Learning Outcome 5.