Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Researching The Rain Shadow Effect - Section 2: Focus


To support students as they develop and use a scientific model to understand the rain shadow effect, I decide to have student begin constructing this model before they even know that the rain shadow effect is. Inevitably, this helps drive the inquiry process during this lesson! Students begin to wonder, "Why is there more vegetation on one side of the mountains?" "Do rain shadow effect always happen next to oceans? "What is a rain shadow?" "Why is it so dry on one side of the mountain range and so wet on the other?" They can't wait to begin exploring the rain shadow effect further through online research. 

Students also begin coming up with their own theories about the rain shadow effect before actually learning about it: Constructing Theories. I am very happy to see this as creating and modifying theories is an important part of the scientific process. 

Finally, incorporating a model into this lesson, students are able to use this visualization/model to begin developing a conceptual understanding of a very abstract scientific process! 

  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Creating a 3D Model
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Researching The Rain Shadow Effect

Unit 3: Earth Systems
Lesson 12 of 16

Objective: SWBAT explain the rain shadow effect and why it happens.

Big Idea: In this lesson, students will begin creating a 3D model of the rain shadow effect. Then, students will explore the rain shadow effect by accessing several online resources.

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