Reflection: Writing Across the Disciplines Earth Materials - Section 2: Student-Conducted Lab


One challenge for fourth graders recording observations is using precise language to convey their meaning in observations. On the lab sheet, students often write adjectives like 'small' or 'big' which can be vague. Before beginning this lab, I work with students to brainstorm ideas for ways we can use more precise descriptive language to convey to the reader our meaning. One way that students can increase specificity is to add an example to their description. Instead of describing gravel as 'small', students could be more precise using a phrase like 'the size of a pea'.  Another way to increase specificity is to encourage students to use sensory language. Describing the smell, feel, or visual description of an item helps the reader to connect the description with the item in question.

In this lab, I encourage students to use sensory details and examples when recording their observations of the soil components. 

  Using Precision in Observations
  Writing Across the Disciplines: Using Precision in Observations
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Earth Materials

Unit 4: Land and Water
Lesson 8 of 18

Objective: SWBAT to identify the characteristics of the four types of soil components; clay, sand, humus, and gravel.

Big Idea: Each soil component can be classified by its physical characteristics.

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