An Introduction to TPA

1. Planning,
Instruction and
2. Instructing and
Engaging Students in
3. Assessing Student
4. Analyzing Teaching
About the subject area/course you are teaching
4. What is the name of the course you are documenting?
Fundamentals of Biology
5. What is the length of the course? ⌧ one year
6. What is the class schedule? 50 minutes every day
7. Is there any ability grouping or tracking in science? If
so, please describe.
Yes, for relevance to this particular class, see response to
Prompt 2.
8. Identify any textbook or instructional program you
primarily use for science instruction. If a
textbook, please provide the name, publisher, and date of
The textbook for the class is “Biology,” published by
Glencoe Science in 2009. However, we only occasionally
(2-3 times monthly) use the textbook for assigned
9. List other resources (e.g., SmartBoard, scientific
calculators, on-line resources) you use for
science instruction in this class.
Projector to display what is on a computer monitor
Whiteboards w/ markers
About the students in the class featured in this assessment
10. Grade level composition: Sophomores: 7 Juniors: 3
11. Number of:
a. students in the class __10__
b. males __7__ females __3__
c. English language learners __2__
d. students identified as gifted and talented __0__
e. students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or
504 plans __3__
Although considered a “regular education” science
class, Fundamental of Biology is a class designed for
students that may have difficulty in passing the
Biology class. Although the students are able to selfselect into the class, the placements are largely based
upon teacher recommendations.
Because the class is considered “regular education,”
we are expected to maintain consistency with the
content of regular biology classes, specifically to
remain consistent with Wisconsin’s Model Academic
Standards for Science. However, this is expected to be
the last year that this class will be taught; my
cooperating teacher teaches all three sections, and I
have not experienced any top-down constraints
regarding expectations for this learning segment.
Essential Questions:
What is cancer?
What causes cancer?
Big Ideas:
Students will be recording five big ideas during the
course of the learning segment.
These will serve as reference points for students to
make connections and ensure accountability for
one’s own learning of the content.
1. A cell’s DNA regulates its growth and
2. Cancer cells grow and reproduce in an
uncontrolled way.
3. A cell becomes cancerous when several of the
genes which control growth and
reproduction become mutated.
4. 10% of the genetic mutations which lead to
cancers are inherited
5. Exposure to carcinogens will increase the
likelihood of developing cancer.
Day 1: DNA is a regulator of cellular growth and
Part 1: Regulation of Cellular Growth
The class will be presented with the following idea:
Every person in this class and every human in the
world started as just one single cell. How did that
one cell “know” to grow and divide in ways
that over time would lead to a baby capable of
surviving outside of the
To reinforce the idea behind this question I will
show Video 1
(see the Resources section) depicting the process of
an unfertilized human
egg becoming fertilized and developing during the
first eight weeks of pregnancy. The video will be
muted so that students can interpret the images
I will then follow up with another related question:
Additionally, after birth, how do the cells of a baby’s
body “know” to grow and
divide in ways that will allow that baby to grow into
an infant, a small child, a teenager, and eventually a
full-grown human adult?

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