School Improvement in Maryland
Physics-Instructional Strategies
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Examples for generating questions
 
 EXAMPLE #1
     
    GOALS THAT WERE SELECTED

    CLG #1, Skills and Processes

    Indicator # 1.5.1 -  ...demonstrate the ability to summarize data and processes through written and oral communication.
     
    CLG #3, Concepts of Biology
    Indicator # 3.5.1 -  ...analyze the relationships among organisms, and between organisms and abiotic factors.
     
    Assessments
    Abiotic/Biotic Factors and Relationships
     
    KEY IDEAS OF THE RESPONSE
    • All organisms in the ecosystem/food web will be affected by the loss (or drastic decrease) of one organism.
       
    • Regardless of the trophic level of the affected organism, organisms above and below it in the food web will also be affected. However, the ecosystem should eventually recover and stabilize.
       
    • The size of populations may change as organisms emigrate or die off; OR new species that are better able to tolerate the chemical or that could not compete successfully with the original species may be able to move into the area. This may have the effect of re-stabilizing the ecosystem.
       
    • The toxicity of the chemical may be short-term, and, in time, the population of the affected (poisoned) organism could return to previous levels; OR if the chemical persists in the environment, there could be long-term effects upsetting the balance of the entire ecosystem.
       
    • The chemical may be toxic to only one species OR it could be toxic to several species (i.e., to the entire ecosystem).
       
      • If toxic to many organisms, the existing ecosystem will collapse and a totally different ecosystem will establish itself in this environment.
         
      • The overall effect of the chemical spill on the ecosystem may be different depending on the trophic level of the organism that is affected by it. For example:
         
        • If the organism influenced by the toxic chemical organism is a higher order consumer, the population(s) of its prey species will most likely increase; the population(s) of competing predators may also increase.
           
        • If the organism influenced by the toxic chemical organism is a producer, all primary consumers (herbivores) that feed upon it will be directly affected: if they cannot turn to an alternative food source, their populations will decrease as they die off or emigrate.
           
        • If the organism influenced by the toxic chemical organism is an herbivore, the carnivore(s) that feed on it will be directly affected: if they cannot turn to an alternative food source, their populations will decrease as they die off or emigrate.
           
        • If the organism influenced by the toxic chemical is a decomposer, all organisms in the ecosystem will be affected by the potential accumulation of waste products; nutrient cycles may also be disrupted or slowed down.
           
    Note: At this point, the writer should develop the question to accurately measure the indicator and focus the students’ attention on a particular aspect or portion of the stimulus material. The time frame of a constructed response item, BCR or ECR, must also be considered.

    QUESTION DEVELOPED FROM KEY IDEAS IN THE RESPONSE AND THE RUBRIC WORKSHEET:
    “When a chemical that is toxic to hawks is accidentally released into this woodland ecosystem, the number of hawks decreases suddenly.

    • Describe and explain the changes that will occur in the populations of the shrew and grasshopper as a result of this decrease in the number of hawks.
       
    • Describe and explain the changes that will occur in the quantity of grass as a result of this decrease in the number of hawks.”
       
       
 EXAMPLE #2
     
    SCENARIO A: Question Written First
    GOALS THAT WERE SELECTED

    CLG #1, Skills and Processes

    Indicator # 1.5.9 -  ...communicate conclusions derived through a synthesis of ideas.
     
    CLG #3, Concepts of Biology
    Indicator # 3.2.2 -  ...cells exist within a narrow range of environmental conditions and changes to that environment, either naturally occurring or induced, may cause death of the cell or organism.
     
    Assessments Limits - osmosis
     
    INITIAL QUESTIONS COMPOSED BY THE TEACHER
    A unicellular freshwater organism such as a Paramecium is transferred into a saltwater environment. Explain what happens to the size of the cell.
     
     
 EXAMPLE #3
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    SCENARIO B: Question Constructed from the outlined Response GOALS THAT WERE SELECTED
     
    CLG #1, Skills and Processes
Indicator # 1.5.9 -  ...communicate conclusions derived through a synthesis of ideas.
 
    CLG #3, Concepts of Biology
    Indicator # 3.2.2 -  ...cells exist within a narrow range of environmental conditions and changes to that environment, either naturally occurring or induced, may cause death of the cell or organism.

    Assessments Limits - osmosis
     
    OUTLINE OF RESPONSE: KEY IDEAS FOR THE RESPONSE (BASED ON THE RUBRIC AND THE INSTRUCTIONAL INDICATORS)
     
    • Transfer from freshwater to saltwater upsets organism's relationship with its environment.
      • balance with environment is destroyed
      • salt water is a hypertonic solution
      • concentration of salt in the solution outside the organism is greater than that inside the organism
         
    • Organism will decrease in size, become dehydrated, and die.
      • osmosis occurs to establish equilibrium
      • water from organism moves out through semi-permeable/differential membrane
         
    • Use of salt and/or salt water as a preservative that destroys bacterial cells.
       
    QUESTION DEVELOPED FROM THE KEY IDEAS IN THE RESPONSE:
    A unicellular freshwater organism such as a Paramecium is transferred into a saltwater environment. Describe the effect this has on the organism and explain the physical phenomena that cause it. Be sure to include
    • an analysis of the situation
    • accurate terminology
    • the practical application of this phenomenon

     
Physics-Instructional Strategies