Reflection: Staircase of Complexity Refracting Telescopes: Day 1 - Section 3: Mini Lesson: Interacting with Scientific Text and Scientific Discourse


The "Ladder of Science Discourse" that I use here is a valuable tool that I use throughout the entire year to help students interact with text.  Early in the year, we focus on "Tweets", making simple science or text-to-self connections to ensure students are thinking about the text they are reading and connecting to it.  Soon, we build to "talking to the text" -- they identify words or phrases they do not understand during reading. Then, we work on "Found it!" connections, in which students use their knowledge of text structure and context clues to connect to science meaning and answer questions they previously had.  We use "Found it!" connections earlier in this unit where students simply identify words, phrases or examples that directly connect to our essential questions.  It is key to build on that level of complexity.

In this lesson, we add "Science Discourse". Each rung of the ladder involves a deeper interaction with the text and students need practice with each before they can successfully implement the next. Also, it is important that they realize that these first three interactions are important.  If we skip right to "Science Discourse", middle school students can misconstrue the idea that they only should be connecting at this level when they read when really they need to go through the first three rungs of the ladder in order to be able to get to the fourth.  I actually talk about climbing a physical ladder and how you can't just go from the floor to the top rung; you must climb.  

  Ladder of Discourse - Text Interaction Tool
  Staircase of Complexity: Ladder of Discourse - Text Interaction Tool
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Refracting Telescopes: Day 1

Unit 2: Waves and Engineering: Using Waves To Meet Societal Needs and Wants
Lesson 1 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to engage in scientific discourse with text and use characteristic properties of waves (refraction) to design a solution to a problem.

Big Idea: Students use text to engage in scientific discourse and then use their knowledge of refraction to design a telescope!

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