Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Understand how the building of mountains is influenced by climate and plate tectonics.
- Understand the interconnectedness of Earth's processes, including erosion, glaciation, and plate tectonics.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use various vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written explanatory 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?
In regards to science:
- An understanding of sediment and how it is created by the wearing down of rock. They should also understand that this wearing down is due to several of Earth's processes.
- General familiarity with the processes that shape Earth's surface, such as plate tectonics, erosion, and glaciation; also some familiarity with how these processes impact the production of sediment.
- General familiarity with tectonic plate movement and the role it plays in mountain formation.
- General familiarity with the relationship between climate and our atmosphere.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial. In addition, students should have some dictionary skills that will enable them to look up words with multiple meanings and determine the most appropriate meaning based on how a word is used in a text.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in the article include: title, subtitle, headings, photographs, and captions.
- 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. Often students will remember to use transitions at the start of the body paragraphs or conclusion paragraph, but will forget to use them in the midst of paragraphs to connect ideas or to make the content within each paragraph flow.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
Main investigation questions: While students are reading and answering questions about the article, please use the questions below to help guide students' thinking.
1. What impact do both erosion and plate tectonics have on Earth's surface?
Both processes are able to change the landscape of Earth's surface. Erosion wears down surfaces and produces sediment. The movement of tectonic plates causes a variety of different events to occur, including the formation of mountain ranges when plates collide.
2. What is the relationship between the climate changes that occurred during the mid-Pleistocene transition and the process of erosion?
When this transition occurred, the cycle of ice ages changed from lasting approximately 40,000 years to 100,000 years. As a result, glaciation increased, which resulted in increased erosion.
3. How can sediment cores give scientists information about Earth's geological history?
By studying sediment cores, scientists can have a record of what occurred over a million years ago. They can date the sediment and can determine its age and how fast it accumulated. As a result, it gives scientists insight into the possible effects of climate change today.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by posing a general question to the class: "The Earth is around 4.5 billion years old. We know that Earth has 7 continents, and that each of these continents has certain features and climates. Do these features ever change, or have they been the same for 4.5 billion years?"
- Student responses to this statement will vary based on their prior knowledge. Some students will believe that Earth's features will change slightly, but stay relatively constant over time. The teacher should reference Pangaea to assist in assessing student knowledge. If students do not recall Pangaea, the teacher can show the class of Pangaea and discuss the movement of the continents. The teacher can discuss how it was the collision of 2 land masses, India and Asia, that resulted in the formation of the Himalayan mountains and Mount Everest. Students might discuss the geological time scale and mention ice ages, oceans rising and falling, etc.
2. Next, ask the class: "How do these processes change Earth's surface?"
- Students should understand processes such as mountain formation, earthquakes, and ice ages have had a large impact on Earth's surface. These processes have created the distinct landforms found all over Earth.
3. Pose the question: "Does anything else affect processes that occur on Earth?"
- Students may bring up how humans have changed Earth's processes. If this is mentioned, the teacher should ask the students to compare the changes that humans have made to Earth to the natural changes of Earth.
4. Next, ask: "How do you think that the Earth will change in the future?"
- Students might speculate that in the future the effect of climate change might have large-scale implications such as rising sea levels, melting polar ice, and temperature fluctuations. As the students bring forth their ideas for the future, the teacher can begin to ask what would cause those changes. The teacher can ask the students to begin thinking about the natural forces that shape the planet (erosion, gravity, plate tectonics, glaciation). This will help prepare the students for the article.
5. End the discussion by informing students that the Earth has been changing for 4.5 billion years and will continue to change for 4.5 billion more years! Tell students that today they will be reading an article that describes a study investigating some forces that change Earth's surface and how these processes demonstrate the interconnectedness of Earth's systems.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the article "Climate Can Grind Down Mountains Faster Than They Can Rebuild." For the class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph within each section.
2. Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
3. Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Climate Can Grind Down Mountains Faster Than They Can Rebuild
- Subtitle: Erosion caused by glaciation can wear down mountains faster than plate tectonics can form them.
- Headings: Earth systems interconnected, Climate vs. tectonic processes
- Captions: Located under each photograph
4. Have students complete the note-taking guide as they read the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- Note: Based on the needs and skills of students, teachers can adjust the note-taking guide as needed.
- For the domain-specific vocabulary in this text, students should be able to draw context clues from the article, as the terms are integral to the text's meaning. They may also wish to use a dictionary for help in defining the words.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, or 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.
2. The text-coding features can easily be the basis for a group discussion or a whole-group "read-through" of the entire article, comparing the words and phrases that different students marked. This can provide an informal assessment of students' understanding.
3. Teachers can use the sample answer key to help them assess students' answers to the vocabulary questions.
4. When discussing students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
1. Processes like glaciation and plate tectonics are too slow to have any effect on people. (Explain that we might not be able to see mountains actually being formed, but we can see the results of plate movement when earthquakes and volcanoes occur. Students can see areas where glaciers have retreated and the landforms that are left.)
2. Earth's surface does not change; the way it is now is the way it has always been. (This idea can be refuted with clear scientific evidence. There are students who may not believe that the Earth has changed and is not billions of years old. Tactfully discuss carbon dating, the geologic time scale, fossil records, etc.)
This misconception can also be addressed in the opening discussion of the activity. The teacher should be prepared with the information presented in the teaching phases, but should allow the students to discuss this issue amongst themselves. The teacher should only step in to guide the conversation or bring up new points for students to consider (like ice ages, volcanoes, the extinction of dinosaurs).
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 (How will teachers check for understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe 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.
2. Teachers can use the sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
Please see the Guided Practice section. The answer key also anticipates and addresses possible misconceptions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before students complete the final extended writing prompt, be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
2. After students' extended responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to show the provided sample response to the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. Going over how the response is structured, pointing out ways to open and close the piece, showing use of effective transitions, and pointing out places to incorporate the natural use of vocabulary can really help students grow in their own writing skills for future writing tasks. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- How the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph. Go over how this writer opened his or her piece of writing: by generally leading into the topic and restating the quoted part of the prompt. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- Point out the last sentence of the introduction and how the writer made his/her main point clearly and decisively.
- Point out the writer's use of details and transition words and phrases in the body paragraphs. Also, point out the use of textual evidence in the form of direct quotes.
- Point out how these paragraphs support the main point and tie back to the writing prompt.
- In the final paragraph, point out how the concluding sentences support the main point. Brainstorm with students additional ideas about how to wrap up the piece.
- As one final option, teachers might want students to 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.
3. On the last day of the lesson, have students answer the following questions as an "exit ticket." Be prepared to follow up with clarifications the next day.
- I still have questions about this science term...
- By reading this article, I now have evidence to prove that...
- The most important scientific concept discussed in this article was...
1. Students will individually respond to the writing prompt at the end of the text-dependent questions. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response containing a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. They must 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.
In the last paragraph, geoscientist John Jaeger states that "Humans often see mountain ranges as static, unyielding parts of the landscape." Explain in detail how the article dispels this idea. Use evidence from the article to support your reasoning.
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 where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for conducting Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"