The Power of Observation Sharing

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Objective

SWBAT communicate their written ideas to the class.

Big Idea

Scientists work hard to collect their data. But the most important part of the investigation is sharing and communicating their ideas!

Teacher Notes

Activity Description:

Students will take the ideas on their four-square organizer and use them to write a descriptive paper about a flower.  When complete, they will read their paper and the children will try to guess which flower they were describing.

Notes:  In yesterday's lesson, the children wrote their ideas on an organizer describing a flower.  Today they are going to take those ideas, write them into a paragraph, draw a picture and then share it with the class.

Connections to the NGSS and Common Core:

In the NGSS, children should be able to make a sketch of a defined object.  In this lesson, they will be drawing a picture of the flower they are describing.  The children will be writing an informative description which is part of the Common Core writing skills.  One of the last steps in the scientific process is to communicate and share your ideas.  The children will have an opportunity to share their written ideas with their classmates.

 

Materials:

  • Each child will need their four-square from yesterday
  • crayons
  • regular writing paper with a picture box at least 1 per child (you will want extras in case someone writes more or there are any goofs)

In the previous lesson the children each got an object to describe.  I used flowers, but you could use rocks or shells.  Whatever you have used will be needed for today's lesson.  The objects will need to be set out so the class can see them for identification purposes.

  • (optional) kid sized lab coat; I made mine from my husband's old white button down shirt.  I just shortened the sleeves, hemmed it so it was straight and added 2 bottom pockets. 

 

WEBSITES

Mary Blair Profile (biography of a real scientist who studies biodiversity)

Article of her work in the field--Calls of the Forest (an article about gibbons and her research of the slow loris)

OR http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com

You can alternatively go to the above website and choose which article you want to read.  I chose the one titled "Calls of the Forest" by Mary E. Blair .  If you go to the 4th paragraph you can click on the blue words to find an article that you like about a subject that would interest your children.  Make sure you preview the article to see if it is appropriate.

Engage

5 minutes

Before we begin, I pull up the website that shows a real biologist- Mary Blair.  Her biography is pretty detailed, so I just read a bit so they can get the idea that she is a scientist who mostly studies the slow loris.  Then we click on the link on her page that takes us to this page. I pull up the website article that Mary Blair wrote.  

I share with the children, "Here is an example of a real scientist in the field sharing her discoveries."

 Then we read the first few paragraphs of her article.  I chose not to read the entire article since it is long.  

Isn't the work of a scientist interesting?  Here we have this intelligent woman out in the field making new discoveries about the slow loris.  Then she writes an article and publishes it on the web so we can all read about it. I think that would be a really fun job.  As a matter of fact, if I wasn't a teacher, I would probably be doing something like that.  I just love how she shares her research with others.  

Wouldn't it be great if we could do the same thing?  Hmm...I bet we can do something like that with our research that we did yesterday. Yesterday we wrote down our ideas about our flower on a four-square graphic organizer.  I bet if we wrote our ideas in a form that everyone could read we could be just like Mary Blair.  Let's do what scientists do, they write their ideas into a format where other people can read it.  They share their ideas. 

We are going to be sharing your writing with the rest of the class by playing a guessing game.  Are you ready to begin your scientific work?

Model/Write

20 minutes

I inform the children, "When scientists conduct an investigation and analyze the results, the next step is to write up a report that describes the investigation.  Or when scientists are out in the field, like Mary Blair, they write articles to share their findings and discoveries.  We are going to practice writing just like a scientist would do."  

"Our first step in this process is to take what you have already written and write it on this nice, clean sheet of paper.  We want our final product to look neat.  Watch how I do it.  First I take a look at my topic sentence that is written in the small rectangle box in the middle.  I am going to recopy my topic sentence on the first line of my paper.  Since I am writing a paragraph, I make sure I indent it.  I indent by laying 3 fingers on the left edge of the paper.  This shows me where to start my writing.  So I copy the topic sentence down."  

I demonstrate on the Smartboard.  

"What do you think I am going to recopy next?"  A boy says, "I think box 1."  "Great job! I start in box one.  I am going to copy my first sentence and then any sentences in the "tell me more" section."

I demonstrate on the Smartboard.  

"Then guess where we go next?"  Another boy answers, "Box 2!" "Very good, I think you are getting the hang of it.  So I am looking at box 2.  I copy down the main sentence and  then any sentences in the "tell me more" section."

Again, I demonstrate on the Smartboard.  

 

"I bet you can all guess what box we go do next."  The class answers in unison, "Box 3!" "I knew you could do it! So go to box 3.  I copy down the main sentence and  then any sentences in the "tell me more" section."

I demonstrate on the Smartboard.  For the final sentence, I copy down my conclusion.

"You have done such beautiful writing.  I think we need to match that with a beautiful picture of your flower.  Scientists make drawings of what they are describing, so we are going to do that too.  Your picture should depict your actual flower.  So if the flower is pink, you should color your flower pink.  If it has 5 petals, your picture should show 5 petals.  Get the idea?"  

Then the students draw a picture in the picture box on their paper (see Student Sample Flower Description).

Communicating Ideas

20 minutes

I remind the children, "Scientists observe things and do investigations and then share their ideas.  Do you remember when we read about Mad Margaret? (see lesson What Do Scientists Do?) After they figured out what Jasper was allergic to they shared their information with the doctor and his parents.  Scientists share their information, which is exactly what we are going to do today." 

I make sure to put an emphasis on this since sometimes children think science is just experiments, and they aren't aware that an important part of science is the communication. 

 

I set everyone's flowers on the front table so everyone is able to see them.  Then I pick a name out of my frog pond to start.  I pick names out of the frog pond since I want to make sure that everyone has a chance to share and no one is left out.  When the person is sharing, they may wear the lab coat (see material list).  This makes them feel like a real scientist.  

I ask the children what good listeners do.  We make a What Good Listeners Do Anchor Chart with their responses (click for anchor charts explanation).

Good listeners:

    • face the speaker
    • lean in and listen intently
    • Sit in a 'hook-up'(see Hook-up photo) 
    • raise their hand to speak
    • show respect
    • wait for their turn to talk

 

Then the children take turns reading their writing (Student Sharing video clip).  After each has finished, the children guess which flower was the one they were describing.  When it is guessed correctly, we talk about which ideas in their writing "gave it away."  

I tell the children, "Good writers write so clearly that we are able to tell exactly what they are writing about.  If you write your paper with clear ideas, we should all be able to guess which flower was yours.  It is a good thing when people can easily tell which flower you were describing."

Wrap- Up

5 minutes

This writing/sharing process has been so extensive, that my wrap-up is really quick.  We really have done so much to touch on so many areas of science, listening and writing.  "

Let's review the wonderful things we did today.  First we used our notes to help us write.  We learned  how to use an organizer to help us write a paragraph.  We wrote a topic sentence, 3 ideas and 3 supporting ideas.  We even wrote a conclusion!  After we finished, what did we do?" They answer, "We got to share them and guess which flower was which."  I state, I am so impressed with all of you.  You were super scientists today!"

 Then I collect their papers.  I look at their papers to see that they have the following:

  1. capitals/punctuation
  2. ideas are in a complete sentence
  3. the supporting sentence supports the topic

 

If they have not done any of these items, I pull them into small groups of students with similar struggles to work on it.