Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Interaction Actions

Carolyn Garner
Bay District Schools


This is the fourth lesson on the sixth day of the Unit, What Makes Me Who I Am? In this lesson, students work in cooperative groups to brainstorm characteristics that are the result of interaction with the environment.


The student focuses on a central idea or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).

The student uses supporting ideas, details, and facts from a variety of sources to develop and elaborate the topic.

The student knows that some characteristics result from the organism's interactions with the environment (for example, flamingos eat a certain crustacean that causes their feathers to be pink).


-Student handouts: (See Extensions)
Rubric for Assessing Student Journals
Cooperative Worker Expectations
-Transparencies may be made of the student handouts if deemed necessary by the teacher
-Expository Prompt for Assessment
-Chart Paper
-Student Notebooks
-AV computer with TV OR computer lab
-Transparencies of sample journal entries (optional)


1. Read over lesson.
2. Prepare the assessment prompt.
3. Update table of contents as necessary
4. Transparencies of sample student journals can be used to help students if they are struggling in writing their journals. It may be helpful for them to see what a good entry looks like. If you are doing this optional activity, collect student journal examples and make transparencies of them. Share the journals and show how the rubric is used to assess.


1. Ask students to take out their journals and question them: What makes you who you are? Students should bring out inherited characteristics. Then allow students to share their journal responses to the questions: Are all characteristics inherited? Where else can people get characteristics?

2. ASK: What are other human characteristics that are not a part of how people physically look? Help lead students to characteristic traits such as being kind, helpful, mean, abusive, but don't discuss too many.

ASK: Where do people get these characteristics? They will probably say they got them from a parent. Then ask them if they think they were inherited. Lead them to understand that generally these characteristics are learned by interacting with their environment.

What environment do we mean? Lead students to understand that where they live and the people they interact with is part of the environment, so these characteristics are learned through interacting with other people. For example: Babies learning to talk and walk. They also imitate other actions. You could discuss other examples if necessary.

3. Using an AV computer and TV, or computer lab where students can work individually or with partners, have students go through the Student Web Lesson, Double Trouble. As students work through the Web lesson, provide feedback which will help students understand how interactions within the body occur.

4. Once students finish the Web lesson, divide students into Cooperative Groups and go over the directions for Cooperative Workers. This expectation sheet can be found in the attachments. Assign someone to take notes for the group.

5. Ask the students to list as many human characteristic traits learned through interaction with the environment that they can. (Example: Scars.) Ask students how scars are a result of their interaction with the environment. Also, health. How can your health be a result of their interaction with the environment? Consider coal miners, nuclear power plant operators, beauticians, flight attendants. (Beauticians breathed in chemicals and later in life have suffered respiratory problems.) Try to get students to think out of the box.

6. Once students have completed, allow them to discuss their lists. Post around the room.

7. Share the rubric with students . Point out that this is the same rubric that you have been using to score their previous journals. Tell them that they will be doing a writing assignment for homework that will help you understand if they understand inherited characteristics and environmental characteristicis of people. It may be beneficial at this point to utilize copies of previously scored journal entries if students need samples.

8. Journal Entry/ Formative Assessment/ Expository Response
Think of a classmate, friend, relative, or someone you admire. Think about all the characteristics that make that person who they are. You will write a two paragraph description of that person. In the first paragraph, include examples of their inherited characteristics. The second paragraph will contain their characteristics that are the result of their interaction with the environment. (The next day, have students return their work, assess using the rubric and provide feedback to students. Those students who seem to be struggling with the content should be addressed.)

(If you are doing the unit plan, What Makes Me Who I Am?, the next day's lesson would require a review. Utilize the Unit Plan Overview for instructions on implementing the review. See Weblinks for download information.)


Assess students' paragraphs using this evaluation criteria:

Content: Did students discuss and use examples of inherited characteristics and characteristics that are the result of interaction with environment in their descriptions?

If students cannot write so as to be understood about this concept, then reteach as necessary.

Writing: Assess according to Journal Rubric which is found in the associated file.

Formatively assess the groups as they work using the cooperative workers' expectations.

Formatively assess the chart paper by making sure that students can identify environmental characteristics. Reteach as necessary.


The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link listed in Weblinks.

Web Links

Students take a walk in Mendel Park to learn which traits are due to nature and which traits are due to nurture.
Science Netlinks

This is the link to the unit plan. Scroll to the associated files to find the Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, Unit Plan Overview, and other files.
What Makes Me Who I Am?

Attached Files

This file contains the handouts necessary to implement this lesson.     File Size: 0 bytes (0 mb)      File Extension: pdf

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