Sperm Experiments

OBJECTIVE: The students shall demonstrate their ability to think and work in a lab environment by designing, carrying out, analyzing and preparing a lab report on experiments.

PURPOSE: This is a true INQUIRY lesson. This lesson and others help students practice the scientific method and critical thinking. It is more important for students to learn these methods than it is to have a "successful" experiment.

SET: By separating sperm from the fertilization process, we can study more closely this one component in the process. In this way we hope to be able to understand better the entire fertilization process. This "isolating" of components for individual study is one of the tools the scientist uses. At first you may think that there is not much we can do with only sperm, but researchers have spent their entire careers studying just sperm.



1) Show overhead of criteria for a good experiment and overhead for possible experiments
2) Meet with each group to go over their ideas
3) Help students gather materials for each group

STRUCTURED PRACTICE: Ask and answer questions while introducing the model to insure active participation and check understanding. This will be a VERY difficult lesson for some students who are not used to thinking on their own. All the more reason it should be done!

GUIDED PRACTICE: Students gather necessary materials. As their experiments proceed, it is vital that the instructor monitors laboratory procedures and be available for questions.

CLOSURE: This is what scientists spend their entire lives doing. What was the most challenging aspect of the laboratory experience? What would be the next step in your research?

INDEPENDENT PRACTICE: Students write up their lab reports and give oral presentations to the class.

NOTES: This lesson will require students to organize their time over a period of several days.