Generate Ideas by Using Our Learning from Science and Social Studies

4 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT generate ideas for their research essay by coming up with an essential question based on their learning in Science and Social Studies Class.

Big Idea

Think like a Scientist or Historian

Lesson Opener

5 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect: I will say, You have completed two drafts of topics that are important to you. Today you we are going to use the research skills we have gained and apply to them to the science and social studies topics that you have learned in those classes.

Teach: I will say, “In order to take our writing and use it to further our learning about science and social studies topics.  I am going to practice the skill developing a claim about a social studies or science topic and the strategy of creating questions. The process I will use is as follows:

1)      Read over the topics list*

2)      Generate questions with my partner based on the issues of the topic

3)      Synthesize my questions in one claim and three reasons."

I want students to authentically come up with their own questions. For my modeling I will show how I read over the topics and issues. I will ask them to turn and talk and come up with their own questions. I will not model a question for them. 

*I came up with this list by collaboration with the Science and Social Studies Teachers that my students have. 

Active Engagement

30 minutes

Step One: “Now you are going to jot down at least two questions for each topic with your partner."

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Researchers come up with issues about a topic they are familiar with and generate questions based on those issues. They then decide how they will take those questions and synthesize them into one claim with three reasons (after subsequent lessons of evidence gathering, they will then see how researchers adjust their claims)." 


Independent Practice

25 minutes

Step Two: “Now I want you to take three issues and write as many questions possible about the issues (I will show the students how I divide a page in my writers notebook into thirds)(10 minutes).”  I will check for understanding by looking over the shoulder of every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). I want to ensure they have as many questions as possible in order to move onto the next step.

Step Three: “Now you are going to take your questions and synthesize them into one claim and three reasons in order to create your box and bullets.” I will show the students how I think through my questions (I will now show them my questions) and create one claims and three reasons.

I will say, “Hmmm…I have a lot of questions about the violence in the Boston Massacre and why the Patriots and Loyalist were so angry with each other. My central idea is the tension between the Patriots and Loyalists caused the Boston Masacre. My three reasons are: the Patriots thought the Loyalist troops were disrespecting them, the Patriots were tired of paying taxes and the Patriots wanted to own the 13 colonies.  I will confer with students as they are creating their own box and bullets using this sheet.


5 minutes

I will say, “Turn in your boxes and brackets of the topic you will research tomorrow.”