The Layers of Soil

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Objective

SWBAT to ask and answer questions to understand key details about the layers of soil using informational text.

Big Idea

The layers of our Earth are deep. Students continue to read closely informational text to deepen their knowledge of the planet they inhabit.

Introduction

5 minutes

Overview and Context

Students need much practice with text features. Identifying them and knowing how to use them are key skills for their later school success. Students needs to be exposed to different types of text features. Today, my students will be analyzing a diagram about the different layers of soil. In exploring the diagram, I continue to build to build their content knowledge of soil too. Students working with informational text is a big shift with the CCSS.

Before dissecting the diagram, I will review what is soil is with a short video. After the students watch it, they will write down some notes about it.

Then, I will guide the students with text dependent questions to understand the different layers of soil with an informational text handout.

Finally, we will watch another short video and the students will be engaged in drawing the diagram of the layers of soil. Students will need to label their diagram appropriately.

Opening Activity

On the rug, I start by sharing the objective: "I can ask answer questions to understand a diagram."

Then, I involve my students in a pair-share task. I ask them to think about WhatIsADiagram? They will share with their partner first and afterwards a few will share with the whole group. I am looking for students to answer with complete sentences and the other students to listen attentively.  

Video: What Is Soil?

10 minutes

We have been exploring soil during science. My students have gathered information about what soil is. This lesson will help them expand their knowledge of soil. I will help my students make the connection between soil and rocks and help them see the connection between science and ELA too.

Today, I am having the students watch the video twice to give them sufficient time to write down their learning about soil. Repetition is vital when working with English Language Learners. After the first view, I will give them 5 minutes to write down as much as they remember about soil. Then, I will repeat the process. The students are writing about soil in their science journals. It will be interesting to read the facts they include in their writing. Here are a few more examples: 

Soil NeedsAir & Water

SoilIsMadeUpofMuch

 

I will ask the students to share orally what they are learning about soil.

Students are practicing their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in engaging manner.

Here is the link and the video:

Informational Text on Soil

25 minutes

Now, I guide my students through the different layers of soil using an informational text handout that is attached. I love using www.enchantedlearning.com. The website offers a variety of tools to use with different topics. I help students navigate this sheet. I have created a template on soil with text dependent questions so that the students are focused on the key details in the text. In order for them to answer these questions, they will have to go back into the text and look for evidence. I am teaching my students to value text evidence with these text-dependent questions.

As we move through the text, Soil - EnchantedLearning I talk about the text features: illustrations, headings, subheadings, and how the diagram is labeled. In breaking it down for them, I let them see the complexity of a diagram. As I read this text with them, my students take notes. Here are a couple of examples of their notes:

MoreNotes

soil notes

To help my students answer the questions, I ask them to highlight the information on the enchanted sheet and then transcribe their answers on to their note taking template. This helps them to focus.

Additionally, I ask my students to highlight content words that repeat. My students understand the difference between high frequency words and content words. In having them highlight words that repeat, I help them to hone in on the conceptual words. It is another way to draw their attention to the text is about.

Video: Soil Profile

25 minutes

Integrating technology is an important way that we as teachers can meet the rigorous CCSS demands for building knowledge across the disciplines. Students need to be able to be savvy about how to use technology and how to learn information from a variety of sources. That is one reason I am using another video. Also, my students benefit from visuals, and this a great visual to helps them go deeper. How will we go deeper? Well, the students have read about the layers, and now they will draw a model of it. They will use the two sources to help them label the layers. I will be drawing a representation of it next to the video. Why? I have visual learners who benefit from seeing a model. I want to make sure they fully understand the composition of the layers. Here are more examples of their drawings:

2AnotherExampleofLayers 

4LayersofSoil

5LayersofSoil

Having them draw and color the diagram makes the lesson fun for them. Seeing the different ways in which they approximate the diagram becomes art. Students become very interested in what their peers are creating, which gives them another opportunity to share their work with each other.  

Here is the link and the video: