Scientists Study Algae Blooms

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SWBAT analyze how an idea is introduced and elaborated on in non-fiction text.

Big Idea

Scaffold the unit, build background knowledge, and analyze a concept with non-fiction text.

Bell Ringer - How Should You Annotate Text?

5 minutes

How should you annotate text?

I want my students to learn how to read non-fiction text and annotate so they will be better readers and also build background knowledge. I show the video "How to Annotate A Text," to introduce this skill. I want students to list 3 strategies from the video. To hold students accountable for listening closely to the video, students record their thinking in either the Science Journal (paper saver), or on a Video Learning Ticket. Another way to do this is to print the questions on the ticket on a large mailing label, and just pass those out for students to stick in their science notebooks. The templates are available online.

After the video, I ask students to share with their partner, "What is one thing you learned from the video?"

After giving them one minute, I use popsicle sticks to draw student names and start the discussion. By using popsicle sticks, I can bring a variety of students into the discussion. From the discussion, I am looking for answers such as: you can underline or highlight the main idea, you can write questions you think of in the margin, you can circle words and write a definition.

Reading Non Fiction Text: Leveled Reading

30 minutes

Scientists Study Why Algae Blooms Are Choking Waterways The Baltimore Sun, Jun. 13, 2014 (Lexile 960)

Algae Blooms Are Crowding Lakes and Rivers The Baltimore Sun, Jun. 13, 2014 (Lexile 690)

Reading non-fiction text is an important skill. Common Core State Standard RI.6.3 states analyze how an event or idea is introduced and elaborated on in a text.

As I introduce this problem-based learning experience, A Pond Study, I want to build contextual and background knowledge. Reading non-fiction text is a great way to do that. Building background knowledge activates learning and builds vocabulary. 

I provide a leveled non-fiction article based on their reading level and then set up reading groups in class. This worksheet will direct students on how to annotate the article and answer questions I work with the lower reading group so that I can read some of the text with them, answer their questions, and help them to annotate the article. I want students to annotate text because it help them to:

  • clearly identify important ideas in the text
  • express the main idea
  • develop brief notes which provide a handy summary
  • begin to think about connections

Predict What Will Happen

5 minutes

Predict what will happen if the algae growth is not stopped.

I ask students to turn and talk with their partner, Think-Pair-Share. This provides time for students to process their thoughts and develop a concrete answer based on information and details in the text. Then take time to share answers with the class because this allows other students to hear what their peers are thinking.