Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Students will be able to:
- Explain the different factors involved in hurricane formation and intensification.
- Explain the different technologies that are used to study hurricanes and why this field of science is important.
- Describe the conditions needed for hurricane formation.
- 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.
- Determine the central ideas of the text.
- Examine the text to identify important issues or questions that the author leaves unresolved or unanswered.
- Construct a written argument 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 be familiar with weather patterns and the factors involved in their formations.
- A knowledge of the geographic locations around the world and the climatic zones will help the reader understand the distribution of hurricanes.
- Students should be familiar with the water cycle, including condensation and evaporation.
- Students should know how latitude and longitude are ways to determine location on the earth.
Students should be given access to the for exploration and research if needed before the lesson begins. There are multiple links provided including weather, weather patterns, climates, and ocean science. The teacher can focus on the information most appropriate for the level of their students.
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 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 non-fiction pieces authors sometimes use several types of structures in one text. In “Hurricanes: The Greatest Storms on Earth,” some of the text structures include cause/effect, problem/solution, and sequence.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in this hurricane article include: title, subtitle, headings, photographs, captions, and hyperlinks.
- 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. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them. This site offers a list of transitions that teachers might provide for support.
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:
- What conditions are needed for hurricane formation?
The most important conditions needed for hurricane development are warm ocean surface temperatures (80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), light winds, and moist air in the atmosphere. If the conditions are just right, clusters of thunderstorms can develop in the area and are referred to as tropical disturbances. If conditions continue, the storms can become better organized and unified. This storm system now has the capability of becoming a hurricane.
- How does a hurricane form and intensify?
If a tropical disturbance can become organized, there is a chance of hurricane formation and intensification. Basically, the process is described as a chain reaction and the system continues to build and build upon itself. As warm moist air condenses, thunderstorms can form. The condensation process releases heat which warms the cooler air found in the atmosphere. As a result, this air will rise. As that air rises, more warm, moist air from the ocean will take its place. This cycle continues and continues as the storm is being "fed" by the ocean heat and evaporating water from the ocean surface. A strong unified pattern of wind can begin rotating faster and faster, eventually forming the signature eye of the storm. Due to the Coriolis Effect and the Earth's rotation, storms in the Northern Hemisphere spin counter clockwise while storms in the Southern Hemisphere spin clockwise. Once the wind speed reaches 73 mph, it is considered a Category 1 hurricane.
- What is the importance for data collection on hurricanes?
As data collection has improved over the years, scientists are learning more and more about hurricanes and the conditions needed for storm organization and intensification. They are better able to predict the path and wind speed and where people in coastal areas may feel the most impact. Because the effects of the storm are most often related to their category number on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, storm preparation by both communities and individuals are often based on these forecasts. Storm preparation is vital in areas where storm surge or flooding is possible. The more knowledge we have on these powerful storms, the more lives and property can be saved.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by asking students, "What do you picture or think about when someone mentions hurricanes?"
- Students may bring up thoughts of hurricanes they have heard of or experienced, intense rain and wind, hurricane season, etc. (This opening may be different if this lesson is presented to students who do not live in areas where hurricanes occur). Most students will be familiar with warm water, the idea of thunderstorm development, and low atmospheric pressure.
2. Ask students, "Where do hurricanes usually occur?"
- The previous question should hint at areas in the tropics as the regions they usually form. Some students should be familiar with the idea of the different types of cyclonic storms in the different areas of the world and hemisphere. If not, to an article from National Geographic, titled "Typhoon, Hurricane, Cyclone: What's the Difference?", will provide more information.
3. Finally, ask students, "Why should we be concerned about hurricanes?"
- Students will most likely respond they are hard to accurately predict, they are dangerous storms and can cause death and property destruction, and communities need to be able to adequately prepare and respond to hurricane warnings.
4. Let the students know they will be reading an article that goes into great depth and detail about hurricanes. They will be reading about the process involved in development and formation of hurricanes, information about the different categories of hurricanes and their impact on people, as well as information about data collection and research on hurricanes.
- If necessary, before the lesson begins, the teacher may wish to direct students to the following two resources for exploration and research:
- This National Geographic video, titled "How Hurricane Katrina Formed," provides a great explanation on hurricane formation, specifically focusing on Hurricane Katrina which might be helpful to students.
- The NOAA website provides multiple links on topics including weather, weather patterns, climates, and ocean science. The teacher can focus on the information most appropriate for the level of their student. There are education portions on the site as well as access to the National Hurricane Center site.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
Provide each student with a copy of the article, "Hurricanes: The Greatest Storms on Earth," as well as the note-taking guide.
- For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to have students number each paragraph. The note-taking guides can be completed individually, in pairs, or in small groups as students read the article. Students should take notes as they read to complete each section.
- Note: A sample answer key for the note-taking guide is included for teacher reference.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
- 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 and relied on reader background knowledge.
- Students can present different aspects of their note-taking guides to the class and discussions can be held based on these student responses.
- Open discussion of the note-taking guide will identify depth and breadth of knowledge as well as identify any misconceptions
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students may not understand that hurricanes rotate in different directions, depending on the hemisphere in which they form
- Students may not know that hurricanes don’t cross the equator (very few exceptions) and usually form above the 8° N or 8° S latitude lines. If they do cross the equator, they do not change their rotation direction due to momentum of the winds.
- Students may not know that storms are not usually symmetrical and in the Northern Hemisphere, the northeast quadrant usually has the most intense storm activity aside from the eye wall itself.
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.
Note: The Text-dependent Questions handout also contains a sample answer key for teacher reference that should not be distributed to students.
- 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 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.
- Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Please refer to guided practice above.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before the students complete the writing assignment, review the responses to the text-dependent questions completed earlier by the students. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed. 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. 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:
- 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 writer’s use of transitions in paragraph three. Also, point out the use of textual evidence throughout this paragraph.
- 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.
- Throughout the sample response, have students identify the effective use of domain-specific vocabulary, including trade winds, wind belts, intertropical convergence zone, extratropical, genesis and others (see the note-taking guide vocabulary list). Have them identify the use of academic vocabulary such as mechanism, intensify, unprecedented, crucial, and inflicted.
2. 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 on.
For Science Closure:
Have the students respond to the following questions on an exit ticket:
1. The question I still have about hurricane formation is…
2. This article allowed me to better understand…
3. The most important reason hurricanes need to be studied is…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."