Lesson 2 of 8
Objective: Students create a model of precipitation to discover what causes rain to fall from the clouds.
I ask students to come sit on the meeting place rug to begin a new lesson from our weather unit about rain.
I have placed large blank chart paper on the wall to record students' responses.
I begin a discussion with the students by saying, "We are going to talk about rain today and how that process works. Before I begin, I would like you to turn to your shoulder partner and talk to each other for two minutes about what you already know about rain."
While they are talking, I am listening to their conversations. This gives me a pretty good idea of the knowledge that they may or may not have about rain and if anyone has any knowledge about the water cycle. This is why it is so important to find out what background knowledge students have on a topic.
Guided Practice - Simulation
I ask students to quickly go to their seats.
To simulate how rain falls from clouds, I lead the class in an experiment. On each table, I have placed a large clear plastic cup, a can of shaving cream, a bottle of water and a bottle of blue food coloring.
I instruct students that they will work with their table groups to share the responsibilities of getting the simulation set up and to all participate equally.
I say, "Pour water from the water bottle into the cup until the cup is about half full. Then, spray shaving cream into the rest of the cup. The shaving cream should not come over the cup."
Then, I explain that the food coloring is like the rain drops, the shaving cream is the cloud. We are going to drop the food coloring one drop at a time into the cloud.
I say, "Drop one drop of coloring in. Did anything happen? Talk to your table group about what you see. Then drop another drop. See anything?"
We continue doing this until there are so many drops of coloring that they begin to leak through the cloud. The students will be able to see the color drop down in the water when this happens.
We take a few minutes to discuss how clouds form from condensation. Then we discuss when so much water has collected in the clouds and they are not able to hold it anymore, that is when we get rain or precipitation.
Whole Group Instruction
I say, "I heard a lot of really great observations and thoughts about rain and what you already know. I'd like to end our lesson by talking about the water cycle. While we talk about the water cycle, I'm going to be drawing some pictures on the chart paper. When our lesson is finished, we will have a great anchor chart showing us how water cycles through the Earth."
As I explain each part of the cycle, I draw a picture of it on the chart paper. During this time, I also engage the students with questions like: "Where on the Earth do we find water? How does water get in the clouds?, etc."
Asking these questions gets the students thinking. They have to use their prior knowledge and experiences with the model to create an explanation.
To close this lesson, we go back to the rug and we go back over the water cycle. This time, we focus more on the vocabulary words. I say each word as I point to the anchor chart and have the students repeat the word. Then I ask them to turn to their shoulder partner and talk about what the word means.
We repeat this for each word:
This gives the students an opportunity to practice pronouncing complex vocabulary. This is especially important for ELL's because sometimes they are afraid to pronounce a word wrong, but if everyone in the class is saying the word at the same time it takes that fear away.