University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A teacher’s modification of the "What can I learn from worms?" unit to teach the characteristics of life

December 4, 2015 - 3:04pm -- Hillary Lauren

A teacher recently shared with us how she integrated the Planarian Observation activity from Lesson 2 of What can I learn from worms? Regeneration, stem cells, and models into her biology classes. Using science notebooks, she asked students to reflect on connections between the activity and characteristics of life (Figure 1). Note that “CHARGER” is an acronym for seven characteristics of life: Composed of cells, Highly organized, Adapt to the environment, Reproduce, Growth and development, Energy for growth & maintenance, Respond to a stimulus.

She also helped her students meet the learning goals of the lesson by including a foldable for comparing and contrasting chemotaxis, mechanotaxis, and phototaxis. The foldable provided an opportunity for students to represent these processes in connection to observing the processes during their planarian investigations (Figure 2).

Have you found ways to use Project NEURON curriculum materials to teach big ideas in your science classes? Contact us to share ideas that may be of interest to other teachers!