Building Vocabulary

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SWBAT develop definitions of the words transparent, translucent, reflective, and opaque.

Big Idea

To kick off this light unit, the students will be introduced to some new unit words and then go on an exploration walk to find objects that match the definition of each new term.

Setting the Stage

1 minutes

 This marks the first lesson in our light unit.  In today's lesson the students will work in groups to define key unit vocabulary words, and take a walk around the school to identify items that are examples of the key vocabulary words.  

Our district has not moved toward implementation of the NGSS yet.  However, sound waves is a concept that is in our current curriculum.  I am pushing my students toward the full NGSS expectations of both light and sound waves.  Since it is above what the district requires, I am can push the students to go beyond the expectations. The NGSS expects students to:

1-PS4-2. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated.
1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light. 
1-PS4-4. Use tools and materials to design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the problem of communicating over a distance.

The 8 lessons in this "Light" unit will focus on mastery of these content standards.  


5 minutes

I gather the students on the carpet and have them face the whiteboard.  We will spend the first few minutes making a list of items that are sources of light.  I want to do this to get them thinking about light and understand that there are natural and man made sources of light.  

"We are starting the second part of our science unit today.  The first 11 lessons focused on sound waves and how they travel and create vibrations in our ear.  We are now going to focus on the concept of light.  

I would like you to think about light and things that provide light for us.  I will make  a list of your ideas.  I am going to make a table with two categories.  One will be natural light and the other will be man made."

I want to separate the man made and natural lighting to reference throughout the unit.  As we get into the unit, they will need to understand that things can only be seen when they are illuminated.  I don't want them to think it only applies when a created light is placed on an object.


20 minutes

"I am going to break you up into groups of 4 and give each group an i-Pad and an item that is an example of the word that your group will be assigned.  First you need to look at your item and come up with an idea of what your word means.  Then your job will be to use your i-Pad and check or refine your definition for your word.  The words are: transparent, translucent, reflective and opaque.  When you are ready to look up your definition I would like you to use Google and type in a word and then review the search results.  When you have your definition, I want you to write it down on a piece of paper and come back to the circle.  Once each group is done, we wil go over our definitions and add them to the vocabulary wall."

By having each group focus on one word and then discuss as a group, it will allow them to define a word on their own but also learn the definition of the other words.  By discussing them as a group and then writing the meanings for the vocabulary wall, I am creating student ownership of the definitions and this will lead to a greater understanding of the meaning of each one.  The goal is that this will lead to greater understanding and use in their science writing.

 "Now that we have found a definition for each one, let's go over them together and write them up for our vocabulary wall."


10 minutes

I write the four vocabulary words on the whiteboard.  Before the students start searching for examples of materials that are transparent, translucent, opaque, or reflective, I want to go over the concept as a class. This way they are relating the new words to items that they are familiar with.

"I have written our 4 new words on the board.  I would like you to think of an item that fits the definition of any of them.  Can you think of an item that is translucent, opaque, transparent, or reflective?"

As students give examples, I write them next to the appropriate words.



15 minutes

"Now that we have a meaning for the words translucent, transparent, opaque, and reflective, I want you to open up your science notebooks and set up today's entry.  The focus will be "Light Vocabulary." I want you to set up your notebook so that you divide two different pages in half.  I want your to write one word in each section.  This will leave you space to find examples of each word."

"You will now partner up and go for a walk around the classroom and school.  Your job will be to find two items for each vocabulary word.  In other words, you will need to find two items that are translucent, transparent, opaque, and reflective."

I am asking the students to do this as I start to develop an understanding that placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light can effect the beam of light.


1 minutes

I ask the student to score their entries using the Science Journal Scoring Rubric 2.  I score them after.  As I score them, I look to see if students are able to find objects that fit each vocabulary word.