Lesson: Non-fiction Big Ideas

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to infer big ideas about a non-fiction article.

Lesson Plan


Connection (3-5 mins):  Yesterday, we talked about making inferences in a fiction text.  I was so excited to see you all making inferences about characters in your reading.  Today, we will focus on non-fiction texts and make inferences about big ideas in the text.


Teach (10-12 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout this lesson.  Readers, remember from yesterday that inferences are ideas that we have that the author doesn’t directly tell us.  We can form inferences by using our background knowledge and evidence from the text.  Today, we are going to read an article entitled, “Yum Yum: Plants that Eat Meat”.  As we read we are going to practice making inferences about big ideas in the article.


Teacher reads aloud the introduction paragraph.  That was really interesting. I didn’t know that some plants eat animals.  The text says that plants eat meat and I know that most of the plants I see in my garden just need soil and sunlight to grow.  I can infer that the plants that eat are not growing in my area or that they grow in special places.  Did you notice how I used what I know about plants and what the text told me to infer a bigger idea about the plants?  Now I have a deeper understanding than I did when I first read.  Inferences push our thinking to bigger ideas and deeper thinking.


Let’s read the second paragraph.  Who can tell me the heading of this section?  Teacher calls on a student to share out.  You are right.  Snap Traps is the name of this heading, I think we must be learning about a specific type of meat eating plant.  Teacher reads aloud section.  In this section I learned that a fly lands on a Venus flytrap and it is caught by the plant.  I know that flies normally land on food when I’m eating outside, this makes me wonder why the fly might land on the plant.  What can you infer about this plant?  Turn and tell your partner.  Students turn and talk while teacher listens in to conversations.  Students share out their thinking and teacher charts responses.  I loved listening in to such great conversations.  Many of you inferred that the plant has something maybe a smell or a taste that attracts the fly.  Those were great inferences. 


We will practice one more time with the heading Flypaper Traps.  Teacher reads aloud third paragraph. The text tells me that the pitcher plant uses a pitfall trap to catch its prey.  I know that I use pitchers in my house to serve lemonade in and they normally hold liquids.  Turn and tell your partner an inference you have about this section.  Students turn and talk and teacher charts responses.


I am so proud of the work you did today.  When you return to your seats you will continue reading the article and write inferences about the last two sections of the text.  Try to think about big ideas in the text and work hard to build off of your background knowledge.  Off you go.


Active Engagement (15-20 mins): Students return to their seats to work independently.  They should continue to read the article independently and complete the inferences worksheet.  Teacher conferences with students or pulls a group of struggling readers to help with reading comprehension.


Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Teacher collects worksheet to use as an assessment.  Those students who did not master the skill should be pulled for a conference on the following day.  I also have students share some inferences they made in the text.  This can serve as a classroom conversation and also gives the teacher insight into which students need more practice with the skill.


Reflection: The purpose of this lesson is to have students pull from their knowledge of  textual features to form big ideas using inferences. It is often more difficult to make inferences in an informational text because all the information may already be provided.  I think it is more important to monitor that students are building on background knowledge that is related to the subject and appropriate.  Monitoring what knowledge we use while reading is an important skill for students to practice. 

Lesson Resources

Inferences Worksheet Non Fiction.doc  
Plants that Eat Meat Article.pdf  


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