Introduce Complete Dominance & Punnett Squares

Includes a Google Doc Version for Distance Learning!

This all-in-one Lesson and Independent Learning Packet can be done in school or entirely at home via Google Docs.

FREE Slide Show – Follow Up with Complete Dominance & Punnett Squares Activity Packet
Click Image to Learn More

I use this activity and worksheets to completely teach dominant and recessive alleles and using Punnett squares to predict inherited traits. To expose my students to the work of Gregor Mendel, who is the founder of the field of genetics, I use his findings on pea shape and color as the example traits.

Lesson Includes:

Introduction using FREE SLIDE SHOW above

Activity (in school or at home) – randomly select dominant and recessive alleles for pea shape and pea color (Mendel’s peas)

Data Analysis – compare predicted probabilities of allele selection to your random selection

Use Punnett Square to Predict Allele Inheritance

Punnett Square Check for Understanding

Unit Confusion Solved!

Many of my students struggle with solving basic physics formula, and most of all, in understanding which units go with the answer to the question being asked.

Is this familiar to you… The question ask for “HOW LONG does it take for the skateboarder to roll 25 meters while moving at 2 m/s?”, and the student answers 12.5 m/s!!!

Students MIGHT use the right equation (time = speed/distance) , but the answer nearly NEVER has the right units – the question is about time or distance and no matter what the student puts “m/s” as part of the answer! Mind boggling to one degree, but this is all new for them and it’s normal to have trouble applying old skills to new problems.

Read the rest of this post at my Better Science Teaching blog.

Unit Confusion SOLVED!

Many of my students struggle with solving basic physics formula, and most of all, in understanding which units go with the answer to the question being asked.

Is this familiar to you… The question ask for “HOW LONG does it take for the skateboarder to roll 25 meters while moving at 2 m/s?”, and the student answers 12.5 m/s!!!

Students MIGHT use the right equation (time = speed/distance) , but the answer nearly NEVER has the right units – the question is about time or distance and no matter what the student puts “m/s” as part of the answer! Mind boggling to one degree, but this is all new for them and it’s normal to have trouble applying old skills to new problems.

PROBLEM (nearly) SOLVED!

speed square

The first formula is use in my 8th grade physics class is the equation for speed (or velocity). I have found that by guiding my students through the process of choosing the formula, writing the formula, and forcing them to pay attention to the units involved through this graphic organizer, greatly improves their success!

See MORE about SPEED SQUARES here.

speed squares cover

I also have created DENSITY SQUARES and I’m working on making resources for all of the formulas I use in my science classes.

3D Cell Models – Go beyond basic plant and animal

I wanted my 7th graders to make cell models this school year, but I didn’t want everyone just making the same thing so I searched the internet for a variety of labeled pictures so that the students could make a variety of cell types.

Bone Cell
Amoeba Cell
Euglena – single-celled Protist (with both plant and animal characteristics)
Plasmodium Cells – protists that cause Malaria
Fat cells
Paramecium – single-cell protist
Budding Yeast Cell
Plant Cell
Nerve Cell

Send me an email at generationscience3@gmail.com if you’d like more information about how I did this activity, including a rubric.

Mineral Lab for a Tight Budget

If you don’t have any supplies for studying minerals, my experience suggests that the following mineral specimens and supplies provides you with the least amount of materials you need for hands-on activities.

Mineral Samples

I chose these three because you get a variety of mineral properties for low cost. Talc is a cheap replacement for graphite and fluorite can work in place of hematite for a middle level hardness, although its luster and streak are the same as quartz.

MineralHardnessStreakLuster
graphite1.5-2blacksubmetallic
red hematite5-6red-brownearthy
quartz7whiteglassy

Additional Supplies

  • white streak plates (Unglazed porcelain tiles) – sets are about 10 bucks
  • pennies
  • nails
  • steel butter knives (if allowed)

With these supplies your students can make observations and practice testing minerals for streak and hardness.

Need a Lab Worksheet?

Physical Science

action balls black and white illustration
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

WebQuests – all in Google Docs

What are Simple and Compound Machines? A Webquest

Build Series & Parallel Circuits, Virtually!

Transverse and Longitudinal Waves

Transverse Waves Worksheet: Wavelength, Amplitude, Frequency and Speed

Review Worksheet: Transverse & Longitudinal (sound) Waves 

Transverse Waves: Warm Ups / Exit Cards to Review Basic Properties

Relative Motion

Relative Motion: One Lesson to introduce relative motion and reference points

Magnets

Inquiry Activity: Magnet Challenge! (NEW) Includes Google Doc Worksheet Option

Generation Science Freebies

The Rock Cycle - A WebquestGraphing with Content 1 - Intro to graphing, data analysis & experimental design

atomic theory timeline ppt coverFree Slide Show
Student Project Worksheet

FREE:  Build Series & Parallel Circuits, Virtually!
Bohr Atomic Model – Warm ups
or Exit Cards: Sample
Element, Compound or Mixture?
Critical Thinking Exercises, Warm-ups or Exit Cards:  Sample
Introduce Chemical Bonding
(Ionic, Covalent, Metallic) –
Note-taking worksheets and

practice exercises: Sample
Chemical Reactions Lab – 4 Easy and
Fun Experiments for Middle or High School: Sample
Nuclear Fusion diagram with
questions
Bacteria Basics – introductory article for students

Go to the Full Generation Science Catalog

 

Level Up Your Ecology Lessons with Real-World Food Webs

Bats are birds. Snakes eat grass. Insects aren’t animals. Nature knowledge seems to be at an all time low among my own students.

In response, I designed two food web activities to simulate connections between a diverse set of organisms that actually interact in nature.

Eastern U.S. Woodland and Field Food Web

The 12 cards look like these below – sun, 4 plants and 6 animals

food web cards

The cards can be used for many activities, such as constructing this food web:forest food web cover page 2

Both activities includes directions and worksheets for students to..

  1. Construct a food web
  2. Construct a food pyramid
  3. Classify by type of food source (heterotrophs, carnivores, etc.
  4. Classify by type of organism

North American Atlantic Coast

ocean food web
ocean food web COVER PAGE 5
woodland food web cover pageocean food web COVER PAGE 1

 Follow up with a food web research project.

Students construct their own using a great online resource that provides predator/prey information for a variety of forest (Eastern, mid-Atlantic) organisms.

Are students off-task and unruly during labs and activities?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hands-on learning is an important part of science education, but it can be miserable for you and for many of the students if your class lacks lab behavioral expectations that are taught and enforced.

At the beginning of the school year I take the time to explicitly teach and model behavioral expectations for working in a group and/or lab activity. Why this is essential:

  • students begin the year with an expectation of an orderly and safe classroom
  • students begin the year thinking that my class might be better than what they usually experience
  • students cannot claim that they do not know what I expect when they are unruly and off-task
  • I will be much happier and more motivated to engage students in hands-on learning

Better Science Teaching Task 1: Teach My Expectations

  1. No interrupting members of other groups – no talking to or bothering anyone in a different group. This disrupts the lab and gets lots of people off task quickly.
  2.  Stay on topic – fooling around and talking about other things results in delays in work being accomplished and diminishes the learning opportunity for everyone involved.
  3.  Use lab supplies appropriately only – any lab supply, including the Slinkies and toy cars, are for scientific use as allowed in the lab. Students will not respect the science supplies if this expectation is not fully expressed and enforced!
  4.  Stay at your station unless otherwise directed. Students cannot just wander around at their leisure. Doing so leads to misbehavior so be clear about this and enforce it!
  5.  Follow clean up procedures (as directed). As we often do in life, I had to learn the hard way about this important procedure. Students need clear instructions on what they are expected to do for clean up.

Teach, demonstrate and practice lab rules and procedures. Believe in their power to promote learning (they do NOT diminish fun, they stop chaos!). Rules are meaningless without (emotion-free) enforcement.

Better Science Teaching Task 2: Enforce My Expectations

There are two parts to me enforcing lab behavioral expectations:

  1. All rules are enforced for all students at all times. The is the only system that is fair and that is effective. Much of my success with lab/classroom management comes from the wonderful work of smartclassroommanagement.com. Check them out if you have a hard time believing in the educational power of enforcing your rules.

  2. Students earn a Lab Performance grade for any substantial group activities that promotes following rules and collaboration.

My Lab Performance Rubric

  • each student begins with 10 points – 2 points per category

  • categories are:rubric cover image
    • Disrupt – lose points for disrupting other groups
    • Teamwork – lose points for poor collaboration
    • Supplies – lose points for misuse
    • Effort/focus – lose points for being off-task
    • Completion – lose points if did not complete the activity as expected

Save yourself time and make labs more productive and fun (for everyone). You can purchase this editable rubric for only 99 cents!

Students are told that they are being graded and each category is explained. They understand that they begin with 10 points and lose a point (or sometimes 1/2 a point) when they break a lab rule or are showing lack of effort and teamwork.

Should I give a warning first? My recommendation is to not give a warning before taking off a point. I have found that the best way for students to take me seriously regarding my expectations is to for me to be serious about my behavior rubric. As soon as I see an off-task behavior I quickly (but respectfully) point it out and take away a point. This usually results in the particular student staying on-task the rest of the time and everyone else getting the message.

So, my recommendation for Better Science Teaching – Set Expectations – Teach Expectations – Enforce Expectations