Activity 1.2 - Expressing Ideas and Questions about How Animals Grow (40 min)

Target Student Performance

Students complete the Expressing Ideas Tool for animals growing, helping them document, share, and examine their ideas. There are no “right” answers during this phase of the unit.

Resources You Provide

Resources Provided

Recurring Resources


Prepare your computer for showing the PPT as well as a time-lapse video of a child growing ( Have 1 copy for each student of 1.2 Expressing Ideas and Questions Tool for Animals Growing, and sticky notes. Print one copy of the Big Idea Probe: What Happens to the Fat? (optional), and 1.2 Animals Storyline Reading for each student.


1. Have students discuss the pretest

Ask students to write down questions they have after taking the pretest (for instance, on the back of their 1.2 Expressing Ideas and Questions Tool for Animals Growing). Explain that we will try to answer most of those during the Animals unit.


Use the student responses to the class discussions and also their ideas on the 1.2 Expressing Ideas Tool for Animals Growing as well as the 1.2 Assessing the Expressing Ideas Tool for Animals Growing to assess their thinking at the beginning of the unit. By the end of the unit, students should be able to explain what happens when animals eat, grow, move, and breathe at macroscopic and atomic molecular scales. For now, listen to students’ ideas, with attention to how they describe matter and energy. Some students may not use principles of conservation of matter to identify food as the source of mass for animals (and instead only associate food as a source of chemical energy). Students may think that the food disappears as it is eaten, and may not recognize that atoms are transferred from the food to the organism for the purpose of growth.


If you are teaching this to multiple classes, you can save different versions of the PPT, with Slide 6 completed for each block. Alternatively, have all classes combine their answers and have students look for similarities and differences.

  • Refer back to Expressing Ideas from Systems & Scale as a model
  • Strategic grouping with strong speakers 
  • Provide sentence stems to aid individual writing and for discussion
  • Insist on ideas and questions from all students
  • Emphasize that there are no incorrect answers and check for misconceptions that may be cultural in nature
Extending the Learning

Students can read more about Hans Krebs, whose research in biochemistry was pivotal in a post-World War II society.