Day 3: A Closer Look At Plants

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SWBAT use hand lenses to observe and record their observations of plant structures. SWBAT understand the use of relevant vocabulary.

Big Idea

Students will take a closer look at the structure of plants by using hand lenses. Later on in the lesson, students will be exposed to the idea of using relevant vocabulary within their observations.

Advanced Preparation

For today's lesson, you will need:

  • Each student's science notebook
  • A small plant for each team of two students.
  • hand lenses for each student
  • Anchor Chart that was created in a previous lesson.



Setting the Stage

I start today's lesson by having the students gather in a circle on the carpet.  The lesson starts with a quick review of observations made during the previous lesson.  The students share their observations to the group and take questions or comments from their peers.  Before observing the plant today, the students discuss what they will observe and discuss it with a peer.  The students will also identify how they will record their observations as well.

This marks a shift in the sense that I want the students to be more intentional with their observations and how they document them in their science notebooks.  This shift is important because it is the 1st time I am asking students to apply knowledge gained from the first two lessons.  At this time, I want the students to be more intentional with how they record by using known techniques.   

NOTE:  Although these standards are tagged, this lesson will not lead to mastery but rather serve as an introduction to the standard and begin to build a foundation that will lead to mastery.   

Creating the Third Entry

45 minutes

"I would like everyone to sit in a circle on the carpet.  I would like everyone to sit on the floor and individually review their notebook entries from the previous day.  I want you to look at how you documented your observations."

I give them a few minutes to do this and check in with students who might need guidance with this.  

"Now I would like you to partner up with someone sitting next to you and share your observations." A group of three will be formed if there is an odd amount.

Students are given 3 minutes for this and then gathered back as a whole group.

"I would like volunteers to share their observations with the whole class.  As someone shares, I would like you to comment or ask questions about their entry (see Responding To A Peer's Share."  Note:  The volume of the 1st person speaking is quite low but you will see how the 2nd student speaking responds by connecting his observation to the 1st students.  

"You will now be looking at the same plants that you looked at yesterday.  However, today I will once again give you hand lenses to use.  Before you start today's observations, I want you to think about what you are going to observe.  I would like you to turn and talk to someone about your your ideas."

Once the students have shared their ideas, I turn the focus to how they will record their ideas.

"How do you plan to record your ideas today?  I would like some people to share their ideas on this."

I take a few suggestions.  I am wanting the ideas of pictures, labels, and words to be discussed and reviewed to trigger ideas from previous discussions.  

"Now I want you to go ahead and start you observations.  I will give you 15 minutes to observe."

As the students are observing, I walk around to each students and observe how they are recording their observations.  At this point, I will push them, through questioning, to get labels with diagrams and also get them to write words to describe what they noticed (see Checking In On Students.m4v and then a photo of how she actually labeled). 

*Note:  I teach a 1st and 2nd grade class and my 2nd graders will have been introduced to eye notice statements during their first grade year.  I will encourage them to use this format when writing their "notices."  

After the observation time is over, I call the students back to the carpet and ask them to sit in a circle. I am ask them to bring chairs to sit in.  I am doing this to bring a feeling of "formality" to the discussion by sitting in chairs.  This gives each student a defined space and asks them to sit and engage with the speaker.  

"I would like you to hear your observations from today.  Who would like to start?"

As students are sharing their observations, I listen to the terminology that the students are using to describe their plant structure.  I want to take this opportunity to connect their use of informal language to that of formal vocabulary.  I create a list (on poster paper) with the formal vocabulary that was mentioned.  I use a diagram and label it with the formal words. This way the students have a visual definition of each word.  I post this chart for future use and can be used as a reference point by the students.  

This activity also has students gathering information by recording information in their notebooks and hearing from each other through discussion and using this information to answer questions (W.1.7). Although this will not lead to mastery on its own, this activity lays the foundation for mastery by the end of the year.  

Lesson Wrap Up

5 minutes

The lesson will wrap up with the students having an opportunity to incorporate some of the formal vocabulary into their own observations.

"I would like you to use some of the words that we just listed on the poster in your notebooks.  Take a few minutes to see if any of these words would be helpful in describing your observations."

I circulate amongst the students and offer help with anyone who is struggling with this idea.  Instead of just telling them a word to use, I ask direct questions to allow them to connect this formal vocabulary (i.e. I see you drew a picture of a long green part.  What did we say this was called?  Can you add that to your diagram as a label?)

I have included a photo of a student's science notebook page.  This photo captures the student using I notice statements and also the use of scientific vocabulary as labels for her diagram.