Science and Engineering Practices in NGSS
This lesson addresses SP 8: obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. Students will have the opportunity to communicate their understanding of the parts of a plant and their functions. In the primary grade levels, students should have the opportunity to analyze and critique their work and others.
This lesson is important because it provides students a chance to be engaged in the writing process as they publish a book about the function and structure of the parts of a plant. Also, it permits students to incorporate writing into their science, so they can describe what they observe during their scientific investigation. This allows students to construct a deeper understanding of the science concept through self-reflection in expressing thoughts and ideas learned.
My students have learned the parts of the plant and their function. They know how to write in complete sentences and use capital letters and punctuation marks appropriately. However, my students have very limited prior knowledge with the writing process. This is part 1 of a 3 part lesson geared toward students writing an expository paper. My students will brainstorm and write their first draft, with some needing assistance with the steps of the writing process (brainstorm, rough draft, revising, proofreading, and publishing).
While the students are sitting at their desks, I show the students a picture of a flower that I had drawn on the board. Five students are randomly selected from a basket to point out a part of a plant and its function. This helps my visual and kinesthetic learners be engaged in the lesson. Once all five parts are discussed, I review the parts of the plant and the functions again to check for understanding.
Students are informed that it is important for scientists to communicate their findings and ideas through writing. Students will start the first two steps of writing and publishing a book that describe the parts of a plant. This addresses learning standard W.2.2 in which students will write informative/ explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic and use facts and definitions to develop points. I tell students about the steps to the writing process by using the mnemonic acronym, P.O.W.E.R., to assist students with remembering the writing process.
P is for planning generated ideas.
O is organizing the ideas in a logical fashion.
W represents writing the first draft.
E is editing to ensure that all necessary components are included.
R is the rewriting phase in which the student complete their final draft copy.
Students are informed that the writing process will take several days to complete. We will complete the pre-writing and drafting component.
Students create a book about the parts of the plant and what each part does. They are encouraged to explore their topic by completing a Writing Graphic Organizer that I provide them. The students are asked to complete the 4 part graph using complete sentences about the parts of a plant. The students are reminded that there are books located in the front of the room so students can view or read for additional information. I set the timer to give students 10 minutes to brainstorm. The timer is set to assist with time management, and it motivates my students to stay on task. As students work, I walk around to aid students as needed.
Students are provided with a word list to help with the spelling of scientific words for the parts of the plant and Frequently Misspelled Words. This is given to the students to aid with their spelling and academic language. I review the word list with the students by having them repeat the words after me. I encourage them to use the word list to avoid misspelling words.
Then students are provided with a Parts of a Plant-Writing Template to help with the writing of their first draft. They are informed that the template is divided into 4 sections- roots, stems, leaves, and flowers.
I tell the students: When you write, you should write sentences that tell what the parts of the plant do. To make your writing come alive, you should tell what the parts look like as well. You can look at your cluster for ideas, but you will write about each part individually. This is your first draft, so you can cross out words, add, or rewrite if you can think of a better way to say something.
Students are provided 20 minutes for their first draft. I walk around to make sure that students are on task and I ask questions as needed.
Students are sitting at their desks, and I provide them with a file folder so that they can add their cluster and graphic organizer. I celebrate the first two steps that they completed, pre-writing and drafting by students singing "Dynamite". This song motivates and encourages my students. They enjoy singing to celebrate each other or individually.
I look at each child's folder to make sure that they understand and it helps me to reflect over my next step. If there are some misunderstandings and misconceptions, I work with those students individually the next day.
Students are informed that they will complete the revising process on the next day.