Separating Mixtures: Direct Instruction

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Students will be able to analyze the reasoning behind using waste water for drinking water and the safety of this choice.

Big Idea

Would you drink toilet water?

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Purpose of Lesson:

 The purpose of this lesson is to build relevance to the concept of separating mixtures, but investigating a real life situation. 


Major Strategies to Watch for:

1) Structured Reading-  Students collaboratively read, annotate, and clarify a text.

2) Writing to Think- Students get a chance to process in writing about whether they would drink cleaned toilet water or not.

Ready. Set. Engage

5 minutes

Learning Goal: Analyze the reasoning behind using wastewater for drinking water and the safety of this choice.

Opening Question:  Would you drink water from the toilet?  Why or why not?

Students record their opening question on their learning goal sheet and are ready to start class 3 min after the bell has rung.  I reward students who get started early with ROCK STAR SCIENTIST tickets.  

Follow the links to learn more about the beginning of class strategies and ROCK STAR scientist tickets


5 minutes

The purpose of The Water Treatment Process video is to show the students how comprehensive the cleaning of wastewater is. Like the other separation processes that we have looked at in this unit so far, it involves many steps and different types of equipment.  I have students look for vocabulary terms that we are using this unit.  


At the end of the unit, I ask the students which terms they heard and we write them on the board for use during the reading.  


5 minutes

My job in this section is to model for the students the reading task that they are going to be doing together.  Today the students will be reading, annotating, and clarifying the article together.  Even though, my students have done this many times already this year, I never make the mistake of sending them off to work without a focus lesson.  It is always necessary make sure that they students have clarity about the task.  Also, by demonstrating your expectations you are adding accountability and rigor to the classroom.  Students know that they are not going to be able to wiggle away from doing this work.  Below is a video of how I would do this focus lesson and modeling.  

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Collaborative Practice

20 minutes

The students now have time to read, annotate, and clarify the Wastewater Reading.  I make sure to post an anchor chart for "Read to Others." and let the students get started with their reading partner.

While students are working, I am using an accountability method to make sure that reading pairs are staying on task. This might be simply walking around the room and refocusing students.  I might be using a program like Class Dojo to positively call out good reading and learning behaviors.  I might be walking by with ROCK STAR science tickets and awarding the good behavior I see.  It doesn't matter what method you use, it just matters that you use a method.  Students need to see that their performance is important to you and that you care about their progress.  If you are sitting at your desk grading or cleaning the room, the students get the message that this task is NOT important and that they should just pretend to work.   

I am attaching an anchor paper for the type of annotation and clarification I would be excited to see.  

Guided Practice

10 minutes

The purpose of this section is to help the students with the last paragraph of the article which is the most technical part about the way the water is actually cleaned.  To do this I have the students put their articles in front of them and get a couple of pens and pencils.  They will be making drawings while I read aloud and draw on my copy.  Adding pictures and visualizing is a great way to move students into a technical text.  You have to get them passed the fear of the vocabulary so that they can picture what is happening.  

Using a document camera to do this would be best practice.  Since my doc cam is broken :( I will make do using just the computer.  

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Independent Practice

7 minutes

One strategy I love to use to help students summarize and process their learning is Writing to think.  I have students make a writing to think notebook where they can store their writing.  This allows an easy method for me to collect writing and check for growth.  

The writing to think allows students to summarize important learnings that the made during class in a way that will help build memories.  But it also serves another purpose.  During writing students will make new connections that they hadn't had before.  This processing time is essential for deeper, more complex, learning.

I've attached a student example below. In this example I can read that the student thinks drinking the water is gross, but as he continues to write he asks how he would know that the water is clean.  (Because this is a writing to think, the meaning can be difficult to interpret) This question is the deeper thinking that we will access later in the next lesson.  


3 minutes

Closing Statement:  Today we looked at a reading about using treated waste water as  drinking water.  Tomorrow we will investigate more the reasoning around using this type of water and whether it is safe? 

Closing Question:  Would you drink treated waste water?  Why or why not?

Closure depends greatly on timing and is not as easy to plan in advance as opening.  You can find more information about how I manage closure here.