We have been reading a non-fiction book about bats, Bats! (Time for Kids Science Scoops, Level 3) in class. Most students have seen bats either in movies or books, however they have many misconceptions about the facts. I created a PowerPoint in order to guide my students through this lesson and help clear up some misconceptions along the way.
Students use a Modified Frayer model to help them with the vocabulary. The power point helps but I know that by drawing their own representation they can better solidify the vocabulary. This lesson lays the foundation for the writing that they will be doing. I exposed them to different mediums, a video, the PowerPoint I created, Bats, Friend or Foe A Writing Activity , and the book all serve as evidence they will need when they make their claim.
I set up a scenario to engage my students and give them a purpose for writing.That is why I deliberately had the activity be writing a letter to the editor because, I wanted the writing to be more personal. They were completely invested in the idea.Yes, they are writing a claim with reason and evidence but this format lends itself beautifully to the Common Core writing, when citing from the text, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards. The NGSS wants students to be able to express ideas about biodiversity and humans. Through this activity, my students do just that by becoming more well rounded, and presenting their point of view with evidence to back it up. They are focusing on effective communication skills.
I used a video before the students started writing because I wanted to give them yet another opportunity to hear how bats interact with the ecosystem and ultimately affect man. I believe that this helps my students that are not reading at grade level, my visual learners as well as those at grade level.
The students were excited to share their reasons. Since they all used the same book and watched the same video, they cited much of the same evidence, which was great because they knew exactly what should have been included. Writing to the editor, giving a valid reason and citing evidence are all life skills and they are learning to master them.