In this lesson, students will analyze an from National Geographic designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses research conducted on the status of the Adelie Penguin population in Antarctica and what might happen to this species by the end of the century. Using statistical models, researchers looked at past and current data and used future climate projections to determine the fate of the Adelie's habitat. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: climate change, Adelie Penguin, Antarctica, penguin, global warming, Adelie, text complexity, lesson plan, Antarctic, penguins
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Discuss the impact climate change has on the Adelie penguin population.
- Discuss the use of models to predict the impact of climate change on the Adelie penguin population.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes a 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 regards to science:
- Students should be familiar with the niche the Adelie penguin fills in the Antarctic ecosystem. This to the National Geographic site about Adelie Penguins provides information to be used as needed.
- Students should be familiar with an Antarctic food web.
- Students should understand the geographical locations discussed in the article. The following link will access a map of the area.
- Students should have a general understanding of the effects of climate change in the Antarctic. Teachers should use the NOAA site "Monitoring Climate Change" for students if they have questions.
With regards to literacy:
- 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 information when reading a text. The text features in the National Geographic article used in this lesson include: title, headings, a photograph, and a caption.
- Based on the 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.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- How is climate change affecting the population ofAdelie penguins in the Antarctica?
The major concerns of climate change and their effect on Adelie penguins are the quality and availability of their food sources and changes to their habitat. As sea temperatures rise, changes may occur within the populations of krill and fish, the penguins' main food sources. Climate change may also affect the weather in Antarctica, resulting in more precipitation or causing warmer weather resulting in melting ice. These two changes would decrease the number of eggs that hatch and/or cause the newborn chicks to die. Loss of sea ice as a result of climate change is also a concern for the penguins because they are dependent upon the ice.
- Why are scientific models a useful tool in this penguin population study?
Scientific models are useful in predicting what may occur based on current trends in the data collected on the penguin population. In this study, researchers looked at data on penguin colonies for the past 30 years. Using statistical models, scientists incorporated predicted climate projections with the trends discovered to get a picture of what the habitat may look like for penguins by the end of the century.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by asking students what iconic means.
- Some students might know that iconic refers to something that is well known or stands as an example of something. Ask the students to name some iconic animals found in the Antarctic. Many will answer whales, seals, or penguins. If they mention polar bears, explain to them polar bears are found in the Arctic, not the Antarctic.
- Next, show a picture of a . Ask students to brainstorm everything they know about penguins. Many will answer that they waddle on land, are good swimmers, are territorial, lay eggs, etc.
- Explain to students there are two types of penguins considered "true" Antarctic penguins: the Emperor and the Adelie. Let them know they will be learning and studying about the Adelie penguin in this lesson. Show the students the video "Penguins Enjoy Mealtime" embedded in the National Geographic article in order to picture and have insight about some behavior by the Adelie. Point out to students how studies have shown Adelie penguin numbers are decreasing in some areas while increasing in others. However, let them know scientists are concerned about climate change and the effects it might have on the species by the end of the century.
- Ask students what effects climate change may have on the penguin population. Most will answer melting ice and other environmental changes to the Antarctic ecosystem.
- Finally, tell students they will be reading an article from National Geographic that discusses research on the specific effects of climate change on the Adelie penguin population and the results from a study.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Pass out a paper copy of the online National Geographic article "" or make it available to students electronically.
- For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to have students number each paragraph of the article. If using an electronic copy of the article, students can use a PDF mark-up tool (several tools are available as free downloads).
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide. Have students complete this guide during or after their first reading of the article. Make sure to provide print or online dictionaries for students to use for the vocabulary section.
- Based on the needs and skills of students, teachers can decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the note-taking guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words. For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge, use context clues, and/or use a dictionary to define the words.
- Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups.
- If students struggle with determining the meaning of the selected academic vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them:
- Glacial (Paragraph 1): referring to glaciers or ice sheets. Encourage students to use context clues. In this case, clues can be found in paragraph 1 where it refers to Antarctica and sea ice fluctuations. Students should realize the word is related to the term glacier.
- Resilient (1): able to withstand or recover from adversity. There are few context clues for this word, but students should be able to determine the meaning from the phrase "penguins remained resilient through these changes."
- Novel (6): new and different from what was known before. The term is loosely described by referring to the the climate conditions being outside of historical observations.
- Hypothermia (10): students might be able to determine the definition of the word by looking at the different components. Hypo- means under and thermo refers to temperature. They should be able to determine the appropriate meaning; if not, have them use a dictionary.
- Haven (13): a place of shelter or safety. The adjective "safe" is used to describe haven; also, the authors uses the phrase "support them in an otherwise uninhabitable world."
Formative assessment (How will you check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their answers to the note-taking guides, 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:
- Penguins are not just found in the Antarctic region. A variety of species are found in the Southern Hemisphere, including places such as the Galapagos Islands, Australia, and South America.
- Penguin chicks have down feathers when they are born or soon after. They cannot get into the water until they get their juvenile plumage.
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 ou check for student understanding?):
- 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.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the answer key for the text-dependent questions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt for the summative assessment, 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.
- Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. The teacher could show a sample response on an overhead or with anLCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Have students examine how the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph and have them identify the main point of the piece. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- Have students examine each of the body paragraphs and explain how each supports the main point of the piece.
- Have students identify where the writer effectively uses text evidence from the article for support of his or her points.
- Have students identify the use of transition words or phrases that make the ideas flow.
- Ask students to identify where domain-specific vocabulary is used accurately and effectively.
- Have students read the final paragraph to see how the writer wrapped up the piece and connected back to his or her main point established in the introduction.
- Have students submit an "exit ticket" to demonstrate their understanding of the science concepts presented in this article:
- I still have questions about...
- After reading this article I better understand...
- The most important scientific idea I gained from this article was...
- The exit ticket can be graded or might form the basis for a follow-up lesson or discussion.
- 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 it 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 it is asking them to address:
- Using evidence from the text, explain and support with details the following statement made by oceanographer Megan Cimino: "It is imperative to prioritize conservation in the places that could shelter Adelie penguins from climate change." Why is it imperative? What can be done?
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting 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?"
Accommodations & Recommendations
For students struggling with the science content:
- Have students watch the following from the BBC on Adelie penguins to have a better understanding of their niche in the Antarctic ecosystem.
- Assign students sections to read from the Khan Academy site on Ecological Interactions. There are several choices for the students to read about depending on their needs or what the teachers feels is necessary.
For readers struggling with the text:
- It might benefit students to break the text into sections (each heading can be the start of a new section). Have students independently read section one, and then have several strong readers read section one aloud.
- Then, have students highlight (on their copy of the text) the terms from the note-taking guide that appear in section one. Work with students to model ways to define a few of the vocabulary words to get them started. The teacher can think aloud as he or she decides which vocabulary strategy or strategies to use to define a word, and think aloud while deciding which meaning from a dictionary entry with multiple meanings would be the best fit for how the word is used in the context of the article. Then students can work independently to define the meanings of the remaining words for that section. Students can report out their meanings and receive feedback from the teacher.
- Then, have students repeat this process for the remaining sections of the text.
- Finally, have students complete the concept organizer on the first page of the note-taking guide, share out their answers, and receive feedback on their work.
For struggling writers:
It might help students to provide them with an outline to help them structure their written response for the summative assessment. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Topic sentences (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text to support each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Assign students other species of penguins and research the effects of climate change on their populations. Use this from Penguins of the World to explore the different species.
- Have students research conservation status definitions on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and ask them to identify and present to the class organisms that are at different levels.
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Ellen Muse
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.