Exploring Nonfiction with Pumpkins

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SWBAT use text features to help them understand nonfiction texts.

Big Idea

Students explore timelines and diagrams through informational texts.


5 minutes

We have been studying nonfiction text features. To get into the spirit of fall we are looking at a nonfiction texts about apples and pumpkins. The lesson image is of the pumpkin seeds we planted in Science class to watch the life cycle of a pumpkin develop. Today we are finishing up a unit about apples and working on a unit about pumpkins. We do a walk through of the pages in a nonfiction text about apples that includes a timeline and a diagram. I ask my students to point out all the text features we see. Today we are going to focus on timelines and diagrams.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

I explain that the captions in this book tell me the timeline and life cycle of an apple. Timeline is a new vocabulary word to my students, but life cycle has been talked about in science.  There is a timeline at the end of the book as well. I show them the timeline in the the book. Then, I draw a line on the board, and use the captions to fill in my timeline. I ask my students to think about a sentence that we could write that tells what the timeline shows us. I have them share their thoughts with their elbow buddy. Then I choose a few students to share with the group. I write one of their sentences under the timeline: "This is a timeline that shows the how an apple grows."

We compare the timeline that we made using the captions to the timeline at the back of the book. They are the same. We talk about what a timeline shows, the events that happen over a given time, and how also what captions can teach us. Then I have my students help me transfer that information into a circle to show the life cycle of an apple. We talk about how the life cycle diagram could be a page in our book to inform readers. It is a quick way to see the answer to the question, what is the life cycle of an apple?

Independent Practice

20 minutes


10 minutes

Students that created life cycle diagrams met and compared their work. Students that created timelines met in small groups and compared their work. Then a few students from each group shared with the whole group.