Earthquakes - There's a Whole Lotta Shaking Going On

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SWBAT write an analytic summary after viewing and reading texts on earthquakes.

Big Idea

Students view and read texts on earthquakes and write analytic summaries.


1 minutes


9 minutes

We begin this lesson on earthquakes by completing a word web for the word "earthquake."  Students brainstorm a list of words they associate with earthquakes.  I explain to my students that this lesson is very relevant to us because we live in Memphis, TN on the New Madrid Fault Line.  This means that we are at risk of being in an earthquake.  Earthquakes are the shaking of the ground.  They can be very small or very severe.  Today, we will learn all about earthquakes - what they are, why they happen, what results when they happen, and what plates, faults, and waves have to do with earthquakes.  I tell them we will begin the lesson by watching a Brainpop video on earthquakes as text.  (Click here to watch the Brainpop video on earthquakes.)

Guided Practice

15 minutes

Our focus skill today summarizing.  We will be writing analytic summaries.  In order to do this, we must understand what is meant by the main idea, supporting details, and a conclusion.  I explain to my scholars that the main idea is what the selection is mostly about.  Supporting details are additional information about the main idea.  A conclusion basically sums up your ideas about the selection.  We have written many summaries this year.  Today, we will write analytic summaries.  An analytic summary is a summary that provides an analysis of the selection.  Now that we have watched the Brainpop video on earthquakes, let's write an analytic summary together as a whole class using an analytic summary template (see attachment). 

Close Read

20 minutes

Now, we read "Whole Lotta  Shakin Going On" by Rita Johnson (click here to view article).  As we read the article, I ask text-dependent questions and focus on Tier 2 vocabulary (see attached Powerpoint presentation as a resource).  As scholars answer questions, they focus on citing evidence from their reading.The text-dependent questions help them to review skills such as fact and opinion, drawing conclusions, and predicting outcomes.  The close read focuses on use of complex text, citing evidence, and building content knowledge relative to social studies and science.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Next, scholars get to practice what they have learned about earthquakes and writing an analytic summary as they move into independent practice.  I provide students with the analytic summary template (see attachment) and walk around the room to facilitate their writing.  Students submit their summaries for my review.  What and how they wrote their summaries will guide future instruction.


10 minutes

To close the lesson, we take the short Brainpop video quiz on earthquakes.  (Click here to view quiz.)  (Teacher facilitates the quiz as a whole group and students who answers using sign language - a, b, c, d.)