Let's "Mine" The Textbook

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SWBAT navigate text features to investigate the format of the science textbook.

Big Idea

Explore and "mine" the textbook to understand where to find the table of contents, glossary, index, and other text features.

Bell Ringer: Why Does a Textbook Have a Glossary?

5 minutes

Why Does a Textbook Have a Glossary?

One expectation for lesson planning at my school is to begin each class period with a Bell Ringer. Bell Ringers get the students "thinking about science" and help "jump start" the class.

I have students write in their science journal, but they could also write on a pre-printed worksheet or blank paper as they respond to the Bell Ringer Question. I give them 3 minutes to write a response then take 1 minute for them to share with their partner. Finally, we share responses as a class so students can hear and process other's thoughts. I want students to tell me the value and purpose of the Glossary. This is a valuable opportunity for students to Think Pair Share, a strategy that encourages a high degree of classroom participation.

Textbook Mining Activity

30 minutes

In August, students are excited to be at school, get new supplies, receive a textbook, and begin their journey! I incorporate this activity at the beginning of the school year to get students ready to use and read the textbook and because it's best practice. Teaching them to use the textbook as a resource and navigate text features will be a life lesson. I connect this to understanding NGSS Crosscutting Concepts like Cause and Effect because students will learn that if they understand a text and its features, then they will have greater success when using a text, in any class! This lesson can be used and modified to work with any text (ie: social studies, math). If you do not have a text, this could be modified to work with any non fiction text or scientific article.

So to start, I tell students they are being sent on a adventurous scavenger hunt. They are not to return until they have collected all of the desired information and even though they will not leave the room, this is an exploration!

Here is where I distribute a copy of the text to each student along with the Textbook Mining Activity. I want them to answer the questions as they Mine the Textbook. They will be learning about the table of contents, glossary, and index along with text features within each chapter. These questions can be modified to work with your text too!

Some text features they will learn about include: title of the chapter, important vocabulary, identifying the purpose of images, graphs, charts, and pictures, locating headings and subheadings which form an outline for the chapter, and finally learning to summarize the first and last paragraph of the chapter. Keep these text features flexible and change them according to your needs and the text that you are working with. Know that as students navigate the text they will be working on the CCSS Science RST.6-8.4 determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain specific vocabulary and RST.6-8.5 analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text. 

Conclusion: How is a Science Text Like a Social Studies Text?

5 minutes

How is a science text like a social science text?

A quick way to wrap up the lesson is to compare content area textbooks. I create a large Venn Diagram on the chalkboard or white board to compare & contrast a Science text with a Social Studies text. You could have students compare any other text to a science text just to build these skills. If you don't use a formal textbook, just have students compare the features of any informational text.

Students are comparing a social studies text to a science text. They have had experience using social studies texts, and practice in navigating text features in social studies. This comparison could be done with any informational text if your school does not use textbooks. Connecting with grade level ELA colleagues to align informational strategies is critical to the success of this activity. If students don't have experience with navigating informational text, this lesson could be used to make that introduction and to establish these critical practices for college and career readiness. 

Sharing some Sentence Starters with students to get the thought process going. Sentence starters are very helpful for building language skills for ELL and Special Education students as well. I give them about 2 minutes to work with their partner to develop a list of answers to the question. It is important to take 1-2 minutes at the end to share answers with the class by filling in the Venn Diagram. Leaving this posted on the wall for students to view provides a visual for them to learn from each other.