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Basics of Life Science: Project Idea for Teaching Challenging Concepts

By Kathy Foust

Part of life science is challenging existing ideas in order to make improvements in these ideas. This life science project asks students to create their own challenges as they learn about how life science impacts the world.

Observing Life

Introduce life science to students as the study of life from an individual level to a global level. Explain that certain concepts and challenges in life science are used in the world around us every day. Provide students with the examples below.

  • We cover our mouths when we sneeze. Is this good manners or are we protecting those around us from our germs?
  • Our parents feed us healthy foods. Do they do this because they simply like the taste of them or are they giving us more nutrition?
  • There is a movement to encourage the discontinuing of smoking on a global basis. Are people just being nosy or is this a public safety issue?

Allow students to discuss the examples above and provide their own opinions. Ask them if they have any ideas as to how the above issues could be handled differently. Asking this question prepares them to think about coming up with new ideas to match these concepts. This discussion will prepare them for the activity below.

Challenges in Life

Talk a bit with your students about their eating and health habits. Ask them if there are areas they think they themselves could improve upon. In doing this, you are asking them to think of concepts in their own lives. Shortly, as part of this lesson plan they will use those concepts to create challenges for themselves or the world around them. Once students have talked of their ideas and areas where they see room for improvement, ask them to do the exercise listed below.

Concepts and challenges in life science are meant to improve life around us. How do you think you can improve life, whether it be your own or the lives of the people around you? Take some time and think of a concept in life that you would like to challenge. Prepare a paper on the topic. This paper should include the concept you are challenging, what you think should change and how you would change it. Discuss the possible benefits and drawbacks of such a challenge. An example is below.

  • Your mother makes you eat broccoli for the calcium benefits. You think you could get those benefits from drinking chocolate milk. Pros: You are getting your calcium. Cons: You are putting excess sugar and other chemicals into your body.

Explain to students how long you expect the paper to be and when they can turn it in. Bear in mind that this exercise in not meant to be graded on the effectiveness of the change as in whether or not it is a good idea. It is meant to give students the chance to look at the various details of concepts and challenges in life science.