Simple Machines

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SWBAT use the illustrations and details in a text to describe the key ideas.

Big Idea

Are simple machines really simple? This lesson uses complex text to analyze a colorful text.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

This lesson allows the students to generate knowledge and ideas about Simple Machines (Simple Machines Typed) as they analyze text and the illustrations. Students evaluate the content of the illustrations and details in a colorful and detailed text about many simple machines.  The lesson also integrates practicing speaking and listening, which is a shift in the Common Core.  The students present their findings and use evidence from the text to support their ideas.

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, I work to gradually release students towards engaging with the objective independently. I also have my students do Transitions every twenty minutes and work in mixed ability groups (Partners) throughout the entire lesson.  I have included a video on transitions and grouping strategies in the resources if you'd like to know more.

Introductory Activity

The tools are projected on the Promethean board, which is a fun way of integrating technology to engage my students. I ask the class to discuss with their partner what kinds of things they could do with these tools?  Then I share that if we had some text, and a more clear illustrations we could determine more about them.  

Then I share that, "We are going to read a text about "Simple Machines" and look for information by analyzing the illustrations. We will work in a whole group setting then with partners."  Before the students transition, we chant the lesson goal three times.  "I can use the illustrations to gain information."

Guided Practice

20 minutes

First, I read the text three times to my class as they track, because it helps the students familiarize themselves with the text.  It is nice to this before we analyze anything, because the students get comfortable with the text.  

Then, I ask my students to look at the illustrations and select one that they think is interesting. One volunteer shares a picture that interests them.  The entire class will then look at the specific image. Students then talk to their partner about what they learn about the image based on the illustrations.  Then we look deeper into the text to find specific places that tell us what that machine does.  This is the knowledge we are acquiring from the lesson, so I write the information gathered about that machine on the board.

Then the students continue with this process.  One person will select a simple machine and we will look at how the text tells us as readers what the machine does.  The strategies are: look at the image, reread the text, or read the caption.  After I explicitly tell the students these strategies, we use them one at a time to gather information.  This is a whole class discussion and when the conversation is over I write the information learned on the board (Board Work).

We go through this one more time so that we have three simple machines analyzed in the guided practice.

Partner Work

20 minutes

Next the students use the same text to find three more simple machines that they are unsure about or just think are interesting.  Then the learners work with their partners to gather information about the selected machine.  This is their practice time and allows me to walk around and generate discussions about the skill. I ask things like, "What can you do with that?"  "What is the machine used for in the picture?"

Student Reflection

10 minutes

This is the time the students moved to the lounge for their opportunity to practice their speaking and listening skills.  I select two or three students to share their new knowledge with the class, and their peers give them feedback.  This is academic feedback on what they can do to improve their work. Now, I usually add to what the students say so I can confirm what the students said or share the correct information.


10 minutes

Finally the lesson winds down and I am ready to assess my students understanding of how to find information in a text.  So, I ask them to tell their partner how to specifically find information in a text using the illustrations as well as the text.  Hopefully, some of my students will recall some of the strategies of rereading or looking at the illustrations.

Then I share that we are going to continue reading informational text and they can learn from the illustrations as well as the words. So, last we chant the lesson goal. I can use the illustrations to help me gain knowledge when reading.