May 30, 2024

Science Amplified in 6th Grade

With each new unit, students step into the shoes of budding scientists, from paleontologists to climatologists and physicists, while confronting intriguing scientific problems that demand research and evidence-gathering for resolution. As the unit progresses, students adeptly communicate their discoveries utilizing scientific terminology and data, mirroring the practices of professional scientists. Immersive and hands-on lab exercises enhance the learning experience and animate scientific concepts, fostering deeper engagement and understanding.

Troy Lawson’s 6th-grade students are in the Traits and Reproduction unit. They take on the role of genetic researchers, working with a fictional bioengineering firm to attempt to breed spiders with the type of silk that can be used for medical applications (e.g., to create artificial tendons).

From the Amplify Science Traits and Reproduction unit.

The student genetic researchers are faced with the challenge of explaining how the silk flexibility traits of closely related spiders can vary, which serves as the anchoring phenomenon for the unit. To explain this mystery, students create physical models, read articles, and observe genetics in action using digital simulations and hands-on activities. Through their research, students learn about the role proteins, genes, and sexual reproduction play in trait variation. They can then apply what they have learned about spiders to a human context. This hands-on experience deepens their understanding of genetics and ignites a passion for scientific discovery.