Integrated Unit: Science and Texas History

Below is a lesson plan I wrote as part of a class about pedagogy and English language learners. This lesson plan was designed to connect a theme – Texas History – to all four core subject areas. Elsewhere on the portfolio, I have my math lesson plan. This one connects science to social studies.

Lesson Objective(s)/Performance Outcomes

Content

I will be able to measure and evaluate the environmental conditions in which a bluebonnet can grow.

Language

I can write about bluebonnets using grade-level vocabulary words.

Materials and Resources

Science notebook

Pre-labeled scientific method graphic organizer

Word wall

Garden (soil)

Bluebonnet seeds

Water

Thermometer

Pencils

Computers for research

Management of the Instructional Environment (strategies for engaging, motivating, and inspiring students)

The hands-on nature of this lesson will engage students by allowing them take their learning outside the classroom. Students will be motivated to complete the project successfully because they are working in small groups to raise their own bluebonnet plants. Starting in a whole-group setting, the teacher will help define unfamiliar vocabulary and explain the project and the expectations. When the class breaks off into groups, the teacher will be hands-on throughout the entire lesson to encourage students and be available to answer questions.

Technology Integration

Students will have access to the computer to research how a bluebonnet grows.

Diversity and Equity

Language Adaptations/Modifications (for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students

Students who are on the advanced proficiency level are supported through language objectives, which are achieved through the lessons. Advanced proficiency students can “can participate meaningfully, with second language acquisition support, in most grade-appropriate shared writing activities using the English language,” according to the ELPS. This support is a pre-labeled graphic organizer that students will use to record observations; students will also be supported as they write their explanations by word walls and personal dictionaries. Students who are beginning or intermediate students will be given a word bank that matches their proficiency level to allow them to write about bluebonnets. Students will also be given a blank graphic organizer to help them organize their thoughts and observations. These beginning and intermediate students will also be given sentence stems to allow them to organize their thoughts and words as they share predictions with their groups.

Special Needs Modifications

Students with physical limitations will be given access to the gardens based on their personal situations. Those who are unable to reach the lower plant beds will be given access to special raised plant beds; those who cannot get to the plant bed on the path will be given use of a portable plant bed. Visual aids will be used to ensure all students comprehend the use of new vocabulary.

Activities/Procedures (Include timeline and grouping configurations)

  • Teacher will write content and language objectives on the board for students to refer back to throughout the experiment and will discuss objectives with students.
  • Students will be placed into groups of four, which they will stay with for the entire experiment. Groups will be decided by the teacher according to language ability, making sure ESL students are with students who are native English speakers.
  • Once sitting with their group, the teacher will hand out a pre-labeled graphic organizer for students to follow along with as the teacher gives directions of the experiment. Students will also get out their science notebooks to write notes in. (The pre-labeled graphic organizer will list the steps of the scientific method).
  • With the class, the teacher will make a word chart with familiar and unfamiliar words dealing with weather and define them for the class. This word wall will remain up during the duration of the experiment for students to look back at.
  • Students will discuss the different types of weather patterns in Texas as a whole group. In their notebooks, students will individually write down what type of weather they believe a bluebonnet will grow the best in. They will be given about fifteen minutes for the discussion and prediction.
  • Once their individual prediction has been written down, they will share their idea with their group members. Group members must work together to decide one prediction they want to use for their experiment. They will then write this prediction down on their graphic organizer. They will be given about ten minutes to share their predictions and select one.
  • Students will have access to the computers to research the type of soil, weather, and amount of water a bluebonnet needs to survive. Each student in the group will be responsible for a different variable (soil, water, sunlight, temperature). They will collaborate and compare their variables. They will be given 20 minutes to research their variable.
  • Students will then work as a group to research structures and functions of a bluebonnet plant that allow them to adapt to various conditions. They will have 20 minutes to research.
  • Each group will receive three different bluebonnets to plant outside in the school garden.
  • Each individual group member will be responsible for monitoring and adjusting their personal variable (soil, water, sunlight, temperature). As a team, they must try to keep all three bluebonnets alive for three weeks.
  • Once the groups have planted their bluebonnets, they will make note in their science notebook about the type of soil, water, sunlight, and temperature that was available that day. They will record the wind direction, temperature, and precipitation. Students will check on their bluebonnets 3 times a day for 15 days and record their observations each time.
  • At the end of 15 days, group members will collaborate and finish their graphic organizers.
  • Students must be able to explain why their bluebonnets did or did not grow by referring back to their predictions and research, discussing structures and functions of the plants that allowed or did not allow them to survive. They will write down their explanation on the back of their graphic organizer.
  • Groups will turn in their graphic organizers and science notebooks to be graded by the teacher.

Assessment of Objectives (Description and Criteria)

Content

Informal assessment can be accomplished through monitoring the students’ involvement with growing a bluebonnet within their group. Assessment through observation can be done as students record and measure the weather patterns throughout the week. Formal assessment can be done through a final grade on their scientific write ups, based off of a premade rubric. This will show whether or not students understood and accomplished the objective.

Language

Formal assessment can be accomplished by grading the students’ science notebooks and watching for appropriate usage of grade-level vocabulary. Informal assessment can be accomplished by monitoring students as they write their observations and data. These will show whether students accomplished the objective.

 

Relevant TEKS:

  • 112.14.b.3.A
  1. In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student

 

  • 112.14.b.8.A
  1. Observe, measure, record, and compare day-to-day weather changes in different locations at the same time that include air temperature, wind direction, and precipitation

 

  • 112.14.b.10.A
  1. Explore how structures and functions of plants and animals allow them to survive in a particular environment

Relevant ELPS:

  • 74.5.d

(C)  Advanced. Advanced ELLs have the ability to use the English language to build, with second language acquisition support, foundational writing skills. These students:

(i)  use predominantly grade-appropriate English to explain, in some detail, most self-generated writing, including emergent forms of writing;

(ii)  can participate meaningfully, with second language acquisition support, in most grade-appropriate shared writing activities using the English language;

(iii)  although second language acquisition support is needed, have an emerging ability to express themselves in self-generated, connected written text in English in a grade-appropriate manner; and

(iv)  occasionally exhibit second language acquisition errors when writing in English.

Relevant TX CCRS:

Science III A-C:

  1. Scientific Writing
  1. Use correct applications of writing practices in scientific communication.

 

  1. Scientific Reading
  1. Set up apparatuses, carry out procedures, and collect specified data from a given set of appropriate instructions. a. Follow a written procedure to set up and perform a lab activity.
  1. Presentation of scientific/technical information

1. Prepare and present scientific/technical information in appropriate formats for various audiences

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