Reflection: Discourse and Questioning Oh to Live in the Ocean! - Section 2: Engage


Since my students live in the desert and live in a low socio-economic area, most of them have never been to the ocean or had experience outside of the desert. I learned quickly that the kids didn't know much about the ocean because they had a hard time telling the difference between a crab and a lobster as well as a octopi and squid.

This is where the questioning and group discourse becomes the most important element of a lesson. I use strategic layered questions that start with what they know and slowly building to what I want them to know. In this case I asked questions like "Who knows what a scorpion is?" They ALL know that because we often find them in our homes here. I connect that to the lobster. The kids quickly discuss the commonalities between the scorpion and the lobster. They no longer mix crab and lobster up. From there we explore more ocean animals and the habitats by comparing the plants and animals of the desert to those found in the ocean. There are a surprising number of likeness between them.

This strategy is very successful because it bridges what the kids know and what they need to know. Asking layered strategic questions gets them thinking in a way they would not normally do on their own until they were older. It is impressive how deep a young child can think when taught how. They do rise to the expectations to their highest abilities and become great thinkers by the end of the year.

  Group discussions
  Discourse and Questioning: Group discussions
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Oh to Live in the Ocean!

Unit 6: What's your habitat?
Lesson 5 of 8

Objective: SWBAT identify habitats found in the ocean by matching animals to their habitats.

Big Idea: Children learn that every animal has a specific habitat.

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10 teachers like this lesson
Science, Science Skills, ELL, habitat
  45 minutes
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