Understanding Glaciers

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SWBAT explain what a glacier is and describe how glaciers affect that land.

Big Idea

Students become word experts, and share what they know as they chorally read a passage in groups.


5 minutes

I explained that they will be reading a passage with many new vocabulary words, or words with a special meaning in geography.  I assigned each table a vocabulary word to be a word expert on.  I passed out index cards, and told them that each student would need to write their word, draw a picture of it, and write a definition.  I asked them what resources would be useful for this assignment, and they came up with the internet, the student investigation book, a dictionary, and their science notebook.  I reminded them to make sure the definition they found have something to do with geology, because some of the words have more than one meaning.


30 minutes

I placed my students into groups with at least one of each type of word expert. I had each group do a choral reading of the glaciers passage from our STC Land and Water books.  There is a free glacier passage at ReadWorks.org.  By reading all together, students who struggle can easily skip a tricky word, hear another student model fluent reading, and join back in when they were ready.  When the group came to a vocabulary word, the word expert explained their word to the table. 


10 minutes

After reading the passage, I had asked the class to compare and contrast erosion from glaciers, and erosion from rivers.  I want my students to understand ideas within the context of the subject area (like Concept Maps), not in isolation.  This makes the learning more relevant and increases the likelihood it will be retained by students. We used a Double Bubble, but a Venn diagram would work just as well.