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Intended Audience: Educators.

Instructional Time: 1 Hour s. Resource supports reading in content area: Yes Freely Available: Yes. Keywords: inherited behavior, learned behavior, animals, innate. Please login at the top of this page to access this resource. This resource requires special permission and only certain users have access to it at this time. The students will: be able to distinguish between animal behaviors that are shaped by learning and heredity.

The students will write explanatory texts including facts and domain-specific vocabulary to respond to writing prompts. Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson? The students should already have an understanding of: The definition of a behavior. The expectations associated with working cooperatively with others. The use of science notebooks. Self-monitoring and using rubrics to rate performance. Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson? How is a learned behavior in an animal different from a behavior that the animal is born with?

How can you distinguish between a learned behavior and an innate behavior? Engage: What object, event, or questions will the teacher use to trigger the students' curiosity and engage them in the concepts? Show the students the following video clip of a man that has taught his cat to use the sign for eat to request a treat. Ask the students: "Do you think that this cat was able to communicate to her owner with this motion the day that she was born?

Prior to replaying the video, ask the students to pay extra attention to the role of the man in the video. For example, "Does the cat respond better when the man demonstrates the sign for her? Then ask students if they have pets or have seen other animals demonstrating behaviors that they think are learned meaning they wouldn't naturally do through heredity. Elicit students' responses. The teacher should facilitate this discussion, and if a student provides an answer that is an example of heredity, the teacher can use this as a teachable moment to discuss the differences between learned behaviors and inherited behavior.

Note: Vocabulary for the lesson will be formally introduced in the Explain section of the lesson, however, at this point it would be acceptable to elicit students ideas on what the difference between a learned and inherited behavior might be. Explore: What will the students do to explore the concepts and skills being developed through the lesson? This portion of the lesson will focus on the student's exploring videos of animals behaving in different ways and in different situations. The students will use their science notebooks or notebook paper if you have not established science notebooking in your classroom.

While exploring each video, the students will write the name of the animal that they are observing and will record the behaviors that the animal is displaying. These recorded observations can include words and the use of illustrations as long as the illustrations are clearly labeled. Students need to include behaviors that they find in each video that the animal is either born with or had to learn.

Note: Remember the students have not yet learned the essential vocabulary, such as learned and inherited behaviors. This will be taught during the explain portion of this lesson. The students can set up the notebook entry in a way of their choosing, but the most basic way would be to use a t-chart, such as the one used during the formative assessment piece of this lesson. Possible videos include: Dolphins at Brookfield Zoo : This video shows both learned and inherited behaviors.

The tricks done by the dolphin were taught by the trainers, and are reinforced with the whistle and food. The dolphins have inherited the behavior of eating the appropriate food fish , as opposed to attacking their trainers as well as jumping out of the water for air. Dog Playing Fetch : This video shows the learned behavior of a dog playing fetch on his own with a machine. Dog on a skateboard : This video shows the learned behavior of a dog skateboarding on his own.

Pufferfish protecting himself : This video shows the innate behavior of a pufferfish protecting himself from a predator.

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SeaWorld Penguin Cam : Depending on the time of day, this video will show both learned and inherited behaviors. If the penguins are being fed, the system of how they get their food is a learned behavior. However, the fact that the penguins know to eat the fish and not the humans is an inherited behavior. Great White Shark jumping out of water for food : This video shows the inherited behavior of a shark finding its food. Orcas teaching their young to hunt : This video shows a group of orcas working together to teach a baby orca to hunt a seal.

You will notice that the adults help in the process, but really give time for the young orca to learn the process of getting food. Refer back to the learning rubric and have students take a moment to decide where they think they are on the rubric, allow a few minutes for each table group to share out their favorite observation. Discuss what the observation says about their place on the learning rubric.

What is a trait?-Genetics and Inherited Traits

Explain: What will the students and teacher do so students have opportunities to clarify their ideas, reach a conclusion or generalization, and communicate what they know to others? If your classroom is not set up in tables, pass out a set to pairs of students, or individual students if you prefer. Each card contains either a vocabulary word or a definition.

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While working together, assign each table to organize each vocabulary word with its corresponding definition. Have students record the new vocabulary in their science notebook. Refer back to the learning rubric and have students take a moment to decide where they think they are on the rubric.

When all of the groups are finished, ask for volunteers to share their responses. Discuss what the shared responses say about their place on the learning rubric. Allow students time to add new information to their science notebooks.

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Note: Make sure to cut the cards out prior to the activity. Each vocabulary word is next to its definition on the attachment! Show the students the attached vocabulary PowerPoint The approach to using the PowerPoint will depend on how students performed on the previous vocabulary activity. The teacher can either choose to use this to review the words or as a re-teach. Optional activity: If the students are struggling with any particular word, you can assign word wall squares.

To make a word wall square, fold a piece of notebook paper length-wise so that it is like a tent. On the front of the word wall square an outer wall of the tent , the student will write the vocabulary word, and draw a small picture to represent the word. Next, the student will open up the word wall square. On the top inside portion of the word wall square the inner wall that is opposite of the outer wall that was previously written on the student will write the definition of the vocabulary word.

The word wall squares can then be displayed on the classroom word wall for future reference. Elaborate: What will the students do to apply their conceptual understanding and skills to solve a problem, make a decision, perform a task, or make sense of new knowledge? Based on the summative assessment, the students will be creating tri-fold brochures on the animal that they wrote about in response to the prompt. This can be done by folding a piece of paper into three sections, just like a brochure. Be sure to discuss that the brochure is a reflection of where they are on the rubric.

Procedures and Activity

Discuss with students the importance of good science notebooking skills. Make sure they understand that their notebook is a resource for them to refer back to when reporting data that has been collected, so they may use the information they have been collecting to help them complete their brochure. Each brochure will have a cover, which will include the name and an illustration of the animal.

The three sections of the brochure will include all of the information will come from the student'ssummative assessment : Section one will contain the inherited behaviors of the chosen animal, in addition to illustrations and labels. Section two will contain the learned behaviors of the chosen animal, in addition to illustrations and labels.

This section will include the essential vocabulary from the lesson, including definitions and illustrations the number of words and which words to use are up to the teacher. Summative Assessment For an end of the lesson assessment the students will be asked to pick an animal of their choosing it should be an animal that they are extremely familiar with.

When they have chosen the animal, the students will complete the following writing prompt: You have just been transported to the future! You are currently working as a zoologist, a person who studies animals! Specifically, you are studying the behaviors of animals.

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  • Choose an animal that you are familiar with. Write down all of the behaviors that you would see that animal doing. Remember to explain which behaviors the animal was born with and what behaviors the animal had to learn. Don't forget to use your new vocabulary words! The writing prompt must contain correct responses in addition to the use of vocabulary words learned from today's lesson.

    Use the attached rubric share the rubric with the students prior to administering the assessment to see which students have mastered the standard, and which students need more instruction in relation to the standard. Formative Assessment Quick Write: Provide the students with the following scenario and have them respond in their science notebooks or on notebook paper if you do not have science notebooks set up in your classroom.

    Your best friend has just called you to tell you that she has a brand new puppy! Explain to your friend what types of behavior her new puppy might have. In your response, make sure to include which behaviors you think the puppy was born with, and what behaviors you think the puppy will need to learn.

    A Skateboard Riding Dog! - Exploring the Difference Between Learned and Inherited Animal Behaviors

    The responses can vary from written responses to illustrations for students who are better able to express themselves that way. The quick write contains a scenario with a puppy, however, you can change the type of animal based on the prior knowledge that your particular students may have. This is a think-pair-share activity. The students will first think about the prompt and respond to it. Next, the students will discuss their quick writes with the person sitting next them or a teacher assigned partner , and the students will finally share their responses with the class.

    While the students are discussing their quick writes with a partner, pass out two sticky notes to each pair of students. They can also use note cards, paper, or simply have the students write directly on the board. The teacher will help to clear any misconceptions about inherited traits. Describing a trait as dominant does not mean it is the most common; it means that it is expressed over the recessive trait.

    Estimated Class Time for the Engagement: minutes. This student-centered station lab is set up so students can begin to explore inherited traits.


    Four of the stations are considered input stations where students are learning new information about inherited traits and four of the stations are output stations where students will be demonstrating their mastery of the input stations. Each of the stations is differentiated to challenge students using a different learning style. You can read more about how I set up the station labs here. Students will place cards in order from smallest to largest gene to the nucleus. Have students try to place in order without definitions before giving the set of cards with the definitions.

    Students will follow the steps and record their observations on their lab sheet. At this station, students will be watching a short video explaining the passing of traits. Students will then answer questions related to the video and record their answers on their lab station sheet. What are genes and where can they be found? Why are there more short-haired dogs than there are long-haired dogs? The research station will allow students to explore a web page that allows the students the ability to research more about dominant and recessive traits and determine how many they have in each category.

    Students will be instructed to complete a few tasks and record answers on their lab sheets. Students will learn how traits are passed down and how the combination of inheritance and environment affect what a person might look like. There are 4 follow-up questions that the students will answer to show reading comprehension of the subject. The assess it station is where students will go to prove mastery over the concepts they learned in the lab.

    The questions are set up in a standardized format with multiple choice answers. Some questions include: Where is DNA stored in a cell? List the correct order from smallest to largest. How many chromosomes do humans have in each cell?