Class OnAir 14.mp4

Direct Instruction

This year I've had quite a focus on improving the literacy of students in my classes, and Year 13 hasn't been any different. This lesson was different to the ones I usually plan, where I would get students to learn something, then answer questions or interpret the information in a new way, or create a model of what we've discussed, or even just to write something to reflect. In this lesson we purely talked, and not at all about content. It was all about perspectives and the student's own opinions, to introduce to them the idea that their next internal required them to form a personal position and critically evaluate the information they assign value to.

Extended plan here


This lesson went okay but I struggled to draw some students into the discussion. This might be because they still didn't have a great understanding of what CRISPR is and what it is capable of doing, even after many lessons on the topic. At this point we had to move onwards beyond the biological content and the "what" and progress to start thinking about the "when, who, and why," e.g. "when would it be appropriate to use this tool, who should get access to it, who holds the power to make such informed decisions, and why do I hold a certain perspective different to others?" I think next time I would have prompts pre-prepared. I went into the lesson thinking to run it like a flowing discussion or a debate as students shared their thoughts, but the conversation was held mainly between 4 of the 9 students present. If I gave students prompts to reflect on before coming together as a group, they might be more open to speaking up, rather than the way I ran it this year.

Class Site Content

WALT: To read and discuss in groups about the impact of selective breeding on dog breeds in New Zealand - a current new event.


Learn about the potential of the powerful tool called CRISPR by watching a Netflix special, discussing it, and then rewatching it again.


Consciously form an opinion on aspects of CRISPR use during the second watching of the Netflix special.


Share and debate personal perspectives with our small class.


Learner Generated Content

This was an unusual and slightly uncomfortable lesson for me as a science teacher - I didn't ask students to write or produce anything during the course of the lesson, thus, there is no work or blogs to share. Instead we sat around a big table and discussed responses to the content on the Designer DNA episode. You can hear student's expressing their opinions on the video above. Some were certainly more confident to discuss the topic and their own perspective than others.

Nicola Wells

Manaiakalani Research

Manaiakalani Education Trust

PO Box 18 061, Glen Innes

Auckland, New Zealand