Description of Intended Student Audience
Monona Grove High School is a school that draws its student population from two major areas: Monona and Cottage Grove. The student body has some diversity in areas such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religion. The school has an only partly inclusive setting. Students with learning or mild emotional disabilities are usually included in the regular education classrooms, while students with more severe emotional disabilities, cognitive disabilities, or multiple disabilities generally attend special education classes. It also seems that many times the students with disabilities are grouped into one or two key classes. This means that in some classes over a third of the students are receiving special services for a disability, whereas in other classes, one student or perhaps none of the students, are receiving special services. In general, the contact between the special education teachers and the science teachers is fairly regular, via email or memos.
This specific unit is intended for a biotechnology class, comprised of ten juniors and seniors. The class is a mix of students who are really interested in science and generally are quite successful in science classes and students who are not interested in science, but need another semester in order to graduate. The students in the class also vary on the number of science classes they had taken previous to this one, which means that some of them have already spent a quarter learning about genetics and another quarter learning about evolution, whereas other students have had very little introduction to these topics. In general, most students in the class are good workers during class time, and almost never need to be reminded to stay on task. One problem I have with the class is that they have a hard time getting engaged in discussions.
The class is fairly small, but still offers a pretty good mix of students. Out of ten students, there is one minority student, a set of twins, one student who is openly gay, and one student who has learning disabilities. This student’s learning disabilities affect her ability to read and understand written material. This makes it difficult for her to do well on traditional paper-pencil tests, which makes her a good candidate for alternative forms of assessment. For traditional tests and quizzes, this student can go to a resource room with a special education teacher, where she has more time to take the quiz, and can have someone read it to her. However, this lesson was structured to provide for a different type of assessment that offers this student as well as all of the other students in the class an opportunity to show the knowledge they have acquired through this lesson in a different way. There are no students in the class who speak English as their second language.