I begin with a review of the Procedural Text Flip chart. We go over the goal and scale for this lesson, and I assess prior knowledge as we discuss. To teach to the level of rigor that the Common Core demands, I need to make sure I scaffold and build on prior knowledge. The flip chart allows me to gauge students' initial level of understanding about this concept.
I ask students to take out their Science textbooks and search for examples of experiments. I also have articles and videos of Science experiments for students to view. I explore online websites together with my students that demonstrate and model instructional texts for science experiments: explorable.com, creativekidsathome.com, and sciencemadesimple.com.
Once students have a chance to view them, we discuss what components Science Procedural Texts have in common. I selected a science experiment that I printed from one of the websites entitled: Make a Big Dry Ice Bubble and project it under my document camera. I also distribute copies for each student so they can make notes and highlight as they analyze the text. Students analyze, discuss, and elaborate on the content and structure of the text. Students immediately identified components such as: list of materials needed and step by step sequential directions on conducting the science experiment. However, other areas that are distinct to this type of procedural text are less noticeable and students needed guidance in these areas. For example, the scientific method has components such as problem statement, background research, hypothesis, and conclusion. So, I introduce a Scientific Method Graphic Organizer for students to visualize this process.
Exploring and writing procedures for science experiments help students to make connections how steps relate to each other to reach an ultimate product or goal. By becoming authors of procedural texts, students experience writing for a purpose. This conceptual knowledge can be scaffolded to build understanding of other types of informational texts. Students learn to analyze informational text for its organization and content. As writers, they learn to convey complex ideas and information clearly and precisely.
Students partner with a peer and analyze the text components of examples of Science Procedures that I provide from their Science nasals as well as articles. We conduct a class discussion to share our findings. Students also use the Scientific Method Graphic Organizer to compare and contrast their samples with the organizer. We concluded that the basic components from the Scientific Method are included in most of the text we examined. Those that did not include components such as background information, hypothesis, and problem statement indicated that it would be added later on as students begin the Scientific process and actually conduct the experiment described.
Students work independently to create or re-create Science procedures from memory. To stimulate ideas, students have free access to Science materials and tubs containing Science materials for centers and experiments. Laptops are also available for further research. Shared research and explorative learning is part how I teach to the Common Core. Resources for this type of learning should always be readily available in the classroom.
Students are encouraged to share their final product and volunteers stand up to orally present. Oral presentations are encouraged regularly in my class. This is a way of practicing communicating knowledge effectively to others. One student effectively conducted her How to Make a Paper Clip Float Presentation as her classmates listened attentively. Common Core integrates speaking and listening skills with writing and reading skills. Students often get new ideas from each other. It creates a collaborative classroom environment.