Honors biology students will be using C-ferns to investigate collaborating like scientists, question development, experimental design, data collection, and analysis. While these ferns are great to teach alternation of generations, students will be using this experience to bridge between our genetics unit and evolution. So questions like "Why would a gamete be haploid? How might that provide an advantage for survival of a species?" "What are conditions that C ferns have to contend with for survival?" "What advantage is there to having hermaphroditic gametophytes?" And hopefully, lots of other juicy, student-generated questions.
I have three classes and 16 teams of highly motivated 9th and 10th graders. Students meet on a block schedule with 88 minute periods. So that means one week we'll meet 3 times a week and one week two times a week. I will use the calendar to indicate which days we will be in class. We also have limited computer access but by golly, we're going to make it work. And, spring break. But I hope we can use two full weeks for question development and background knowledge development as these students know nothing about C-ferns so far.
I usually do C-ferns along with genetics to teach mitosis versus meiosis and haploid/diploid but due to a number of factors, I had to start later than usual. I will be joined by my student teacher in this effort as well. I have used C-ferns for a number of years and it truly makes my classroom feel like a living, breathing science studio where kids take hold of their own learning. We will focus on doing our experiments from spore to fertilization as that is all the time we will have in order to wrap up by April 27th.