Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Explain what a Marine Protected Area (MPA) is and how it can have a positive effect on the local ecosystem, including coral reefs.
- Identify the threats (both local and global) that ecosystems protected by MPAs can face.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Determine the meaning of selected domain-specific words in the text.
- Determine the central ideas of the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
With regard to science:
- Students should have basic familiarity with coral reef ecosystems.
- Basic geographical knowledge of the Philippines and surrounding waters as well as the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument would be beneficial.
- Students need to understand the ecological terminology used in the article, especially the meaning of species diversity and richness, and the difference between these two terms.
- Students should know that overfishing and energy exploration can have negative effects on coral reef ecosystems and in turn have a deleterious effect on adjoining terrestrial ecosystems and human populations.
With regard to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. This should include use of context clues and dictionary skills.
- Students should understand the term "central idea" and be able to distinguish central ideas from key details.
- "Central idea" means the same thing as "main idea." The central idea is the author's main point about the topic or topics in a text. The central ideas are the dominant, most important, or chief ideas that emerge from all the ideas presented in a text. Students should be aware that the author can have several main points he or she wants to make about the topic or topics in a piece of writing, and as a result, there can be multiple central ideas in a text, especially in longer more complex pieces.
- Key, or in other words, important, details in a text help an author support and develop his or her central ideas.
- Students should have an awareness that authors can organize or structure a text in many different ways. In longer, more complex nonfiction pieces authors sometimes use several types of structures in one text. In "Good News and Bad News for Coral Reefs," some of the text structures include cause/effect and problem/solution.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in this National Science Foundation article includes the title, subtitle, a photograph and a caption.
- Based on the writing rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them. This site lists transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
Main investigation questions:
1. What are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)?
- A coastal or offshore marine area that is managed to protect natural and/or cultural resources.
2. What situation or activities created a need for establishing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)?
- When reef areas were left unmanaged, overfishing and destructive fishing practices occurred and marine debris can accumulate.
- An example of overfishing near a Marine National Monument in Hawaii. *The video may take a few moments to appear and load.
3. What evidence is presented that indicates MPAs are effective conservation measures?
- Examples from the Philippines show increases in top predators in MPAs (4-fold in one area studied over a 14-year period and an 11-fold increase in another area studied over a 15-year time period).
- An increase in species richness occurred within one of the MPAs studied and a spill-over effect of increased richness in a neighboring fishing area was also documented.
4. What threats do the MPAs not protect against?
- Climate change
- possible increased severity of storms
- Warming leading to coral bleaching (video) *The video may take a few moments to appear and load.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by asking students what they picture when asked to think about a coral reef.
- Students are likely to bring up colorful fishes and corals in crystal clear, blue water.
- Show students NSF or other public domain images of coral reefs such as the one used as the primary in the article.
2. Next ask students to suggest the threats they think coral reef ecosystems may face.
- Students will likely be able to identify many of the major threats in at least a general sense, but the teacher should guide the discussion and offer guidance so that the class arrives at a list including many of the following issues: climate change, overfishing, careless human recreational use, and pollution.
- The teacher should spend time discussing some of these threats in greater detail to build up background knowledge in areas student may be lacking. For example, be sure that students understand that:
- Overfishing can lead to population collapse in a species, which can in turn negatively affect an entire ecological community.
- Fishermen use equipment such as gillnets, traps, longlines, trawl nets, and even methods such as dynamite and poisoning to harvest fish and some of these methods can severely impact an ecosystem. For instance, nets can break and get tangled in coral. It may be useful to show students images of some of these fishing methods or the overfishing video referenced above in Guiding Questions.
- Coral reef ecosystems are exceptionally fragile and at risk from even very slight increases in temperature and increases in the frequency of severe weather events resulting from global climate change, as well as the effects of pollution.
3. Now ask students if they can think of any possible solutions to protect coral reefs.
- Guide student responses to include regulating or protecting sensitive marine areas that include coral reefs.
- It may be helpful to introduce the concept of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Marine National Monuments at this point. This is a good source of information. However, the teacher might prefer to let the students read the text before explaining/defining MPAs.
4. End the introduction by letting students know they will be reading an article about a Marine National Monument created by President Obama. The teacher may want to give some geography context by showing the students the approximate location of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument on a map, as well as the location of the Philippines.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
Provide students a copy of the article "Good News and Bad News for Coral Reefs."
- For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to have students number each paragraph with a pen or pencil if the article was distributed as a hard copy or with a PDF mark-up tool if using electronic copies of the article (several tools are free downloads).
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
1. The teacher can circulate around the room as the note-taking guides are being completed and take note of any specific insights or misconceptions that should be discussed with the whole class. The teacher could also take note of any answers that were not text-based.
2. Students can present different aspects of their note-taking guides to the class and discussions can be held based on these student responses.
3. Open discussion of the note-taking guides will identify depth and breadth of knowledge as well as identify any misconceptions. Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students may misconstrue what the meaning of a Monument is in this particular context. It's not a building or local structure that represents some event or location to be remembered, but rather an area of special significance.
- Students may not understand the specifics of any of the threats to coral reefs discussed in the article, as they are only referenced in a general sense. Hopefully the introductory discussion will prepare students for this aspect of comprehending the text but if not, the teacher may need to clarify and provide more information.
- Students may confuse the terms biodiversity and species richness. Be sure that students understand that diversity refers to the number of different species present in an environment, while richness refers to the number of individuals of the same species present in a sample of a population.
- If students are unaware of where the Monument is or where the Philippines are, a map or Google Earth (free download) could be used to show where in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean they are located.
- Students may confuse the terms Marine Protected Area and Marine National Monument. Be sure students are aware that Marine National Monuments are a specific type of MPA designated by a United States president while an MPA is a more general term for a protected marine area.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative assessment can come in the form of the following:
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and even grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Please see Guided Practice above for a list of potential errors and misconceptions. Specific misconceptions and potential wrong answers to the text-dependent questions are provided with the key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before students complete the writing prompt: Be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including identifying and correcting any misconceptions and adding any missing key points described in the sample answer key.
2. After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response.
The teacher could show the sample response using an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Have students examine how the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph. (Students often struggle with ideas in how to start a written response, and they often want to repeat the prompt back in the first sentence because they are not sure what other options they have. Go over how this writer opened his or her piece of writing. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.)
- Point out the use of some textual specifics in the introduction.
- Point out the last two sentences of the introduction and how the writer made the main point clear.
- Paragraph two details promising results from other MPAs, which can be used to support the potential effectiveness of the Marine National Monument expansion. Have students identify use of textual evidence.
- Paragraph three describes challenges faced by other MPAs. Have students identify use of textual evidence.
- Paragraph four goes into potential limitations of the program. Help students to see how this specifically ties back to one aspect of the writing prompt, and then have them identify use of textual evidence.
- Paragraph five discusses questions about the program that remain unanswered. Help students to see how this specifically ties back to one aspect of the writing prompt, and have them identify use of textual evidence.
- Discuss how the writer wrapped up the piece in the concluding paragraph.
- Throughout the sample response, have students identify the effective use of domain-specific vocabulary, including MPAs, pristine, diversity, predatory species, conservation, climate change.
3. Teachers could also have students use the rubric to provide a score for the sample written response and have them justify the score they gave, possibly providing revision suggestions for any categories they scored lower than a 4.
4. Depending on the needs of the teacher and skills of the students, teachers might want to provide one or more of the guiding questions for the lesson as an exit ticket.
1. Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
3. Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt as the teacher goes over it so they will remember to answer all the required parts.
Analyze the potential effectiveness of the Marine National Monument expansion. Using evidence from the text to support your response, outline both the benefits and potential limitations of the program and identify any questions about the program that remain unanswered.
4. Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting the Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."