PLB 802: F04

Schedule and Topics | Seminar Info | Readings| Home

Teachable Units

Tentative Topics and Team Members for Teachable Units

TOPIC Sub-topic/pathway Tentative Team Members
Biomolecules/Plant lipids Science in everyday life Yong Hua
Natural Selection
Plant physiology From photosynthesis to climate change Rett
Genes How do genes control phenotype? Cheryl

Guiding Questions for Teachable Units

Topic Guiding Questions Examples
Learning Objectives
  • What do you expect ALL students to know, understand and be able to do at the end of the unit?
    Types of objectives:
    • Biology concepts
    • Higher-order thinking skills: analysis, synthesis, evaluation
    • Lower-order thinking skills: knowledge, comprehension
    • Collaborative group skills
E.g., At the end of this unit, students will describe how and why primary productivity varies in different ecosystems.
Teaching Challenges
  • What do students struggle to understand about this topic?

  • Are there any known and/or documented misconceptions?

  • What evidence is there that students are not meeting your expectations?
  • Students do not understand photosynthesis beyond memorization of the equation.

  • Students have never conducted a laboratory about photosynthesis.

  • Students are not engaged in learning when I lecture.
Instructional Resources & Literature Review
  • From what plant biology research is your unit derived?

  • What is the novel or unique approach to your unit?

  • What existing instructional materials can you adapt or build upon?

  • What relevant literature or resources can support the content of your unit?

  • What literature or resources can provide evidence that your teaching strategies will be effective for ALL students?
  • Climate change can affect primary productivity of the alpine tundra.

  • Students will have an opportunity to "see" photosynthesis by conducting an experiment.

  • Cooperative learning literature supports the use of groups of 3 or 4 to conduct the experiment.

Topic Guiding Questions
Adaptation & Development
  • What is the overall concept that students will address during the unit?

  • How will the unit model science as a process of inquiry?

  • How will the activities engage ALL students, sustain their interest, and foster student-centered learning?

  • How will the unit provide students the opportunity to develop and practice higher-order thinking skills?

  • How does the unit provide the basis for deeper understanding of the same topic in upper division courses?
  • How well does the assessment align with the objectives you designed for the unit?

  • What measures of student learning will you use to convince your peers that your students have achieved the objectives?

  • What assessments will you use during class (formative) to check on their progress?

  • How will the assessment plan provide you with useful information that can instruct your revision and implementation of the unit? How will you analyze the assessment data?
Active Learning Strategies
  • What active learning strategies will help students achieve the learning objectives?

  • How will the active learning strategies be effective for ALL students?
Sequence of Activities
  • How will the activities flow and complete a learning cycle?

  • What questions will you use to guide the learning cycle?

  • What materials, resources will you use during your teachable unit?
Implementation Instructions This unit is designed for ISB 202, Environmental Science and Organismal Biology. If other faculty in this course use your unit, what instructions will they need?
  • What do instructors need to know about material preparation and methods?
  • How much time for implementation?
  • What materials are provided to students?
  • What relevant references can instructors turn to for both science content and pedagogy?
Scientific Teaching Plan
  • How will you know if your teachable unit is effective?

  • How will you disseminate the results to your peers or to a broader audience?