Reflection: Complex Tasks The Dark Side - Section 3: Exploration ~ the wave crest


Scientific vocabulary can be difficult, especially for our developing readers.  I support the complex task of acquiring vocabulary in a number of ways.

First, I write all scientific vocabulary (in this lesson, opaque, translucent, and transparent) on the KLEWS chart.  This is an anchor chart that stays posted throughout the unit.  In the previous lesson, vocabulary was introduced once students had actual experiences with them through experimentation (the light passes right through the water bottle... friends, we call this transparent). By posting the anchor chart, students are able to refer to it at any point if they forget a word, forget a definition, or need to spell it.  I also use picture clues on the KLEWS chart to help students remember the words.  A simple black-and-white vocabulary card with a word and definition simply does not work for our developing readers!  Today, I cut pictures from the actual article we were reading to use as picture clues.  The shared experience of the journal then helps reinforce the vocabulary.

Second, I have students hear the word, repeat the word, use it in their own words, and finally write the word to apply the vocabulary.  Repeatedly hearing the words helps solidify them in students' minds.  In this lesson, we first reviewed the words, which were introduced in the previous lesson.  Then, when reading the text, I paused and asked students what science word applied to each picture.  Then, I made a simple statement like, "This lantern is translucent because some light passes through it."  Students repeated my sentence as they touched the picture.  Next, I asked students to turn and tell the person next to them why this lantern was translucent.

Third, students used a room resource (the KLEWS chart) to copy the vocabulary words onto post-it notes.  As they reread the article with a friend, they added the appropriate word to the illustrations.  Finally, students put the sticky notes into their Science Journals, should they need them at a later date.

Teaching higher level vocabulary is an art!  Just remember: display, reinforce, reuse.

  Complex Tasks: Supporting use of scientific vocabulary
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The Dark Side

Unit 4: Light and Sound
Lesson 12 of 18

Objective: SWBAT conduct an investigation to determine that without light, we cannot see.

Big Idea: Come to the dark side... of your classroom! Can we see when there is no light?

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