My 5th grade students studied general earth science concepts. Then they asked the question, “Where will the next Hawaiian island appear?”
These are some of the general earth science concepts we studied as covered in our school text, Science A Closer Look, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill.
Each 5th grade student created a science notebook.
The notebook begins with a Title Page. The page consists of the students hand drawn ideas about what is studied in science.
Just as in all good informational texts, their notebooks include a table of contents. Students create their table of contents so that they can use their notebook as a resource to study from weeks and months later.
The Notebook Rubric allows students to self asses as they write each page.
We began our Earth Science unit of study with basic vocabulary.
One of the early lessons included a study of soil horizons.
We also studied about how land can be changed by fault block motion.
Spreading of the ocean floor helped student further understand how forces change the earth’s surface.
Mineral properties, rock classification and the rock cycle are important earth science concepts.
We moved onto the theory of plate tectonics.
Then, the question, “Where will the next Hawaiian volcanic island be located?” was posed. Students brainstormed ideas about how to find the answer to this question. One student suggested that we interview a scientist. The class laughed at him.
So, we set out to interview a scientist!
After our scientist agreed to the requested interview, students wrote questions in their notebooks that they wanted to ask during the interview. We emailed the questions to our scientist so she could prepare.
Our technology support person helped set up the equipment and we conducted a Skype interview to investigate our science question.
Alice Alston participated in the interview.
…along with 32 fifth grade students.
Students also used Google Earth to locate actual satellitephotos of the area where the next Hawaiian island is appearing.
It is off the coast of the “Big” island and is called Loihi Seamount.
Students note the longitude and latitude of the seamount’s location.
This is a diagram of the elevation of the volcanoes being created by the hotspot under Loihi.
Student drawn diagram of the hotspot.
Students read about how volcanoes are formed in their textbook.
… and created their own diagrams of the island formation.
Then, they began to put together a presentation of their findings.
A student drawn map was included.
The features of a volcano was drawn to explain the volcanic process.
Then the students used play dough and craft sticks to create a model.
The model was labeled with vocabulary learned from the earth science unit.
… and then it was complete!
In addition to the island project, student completed a digital VoiceThread assessment.
Each student recorded what they knew about plate tectonics and other important earth science concepts.
Lesson Notes and Resources<br />OBJECTIVE: Students will be able to identify the forces that shape the earth’s surface then use science process skills to predict where the next volcanic island will appear. <br />Process Skills: Observe, predict, communicate, classify, make a model, interpret data, measure, predict, infer.<br />Science Content: Earth’s layers include the atmosphere, hydrosphere, crust, mantle and core.<br />Plate tectonics explains how forces deep within Earth move chunks of Earth’s crust.<br />Mountains are produced where Earth’s crust is compressed or being sheared.<br />Earth’s surface and ocean floor are covered by landforms.<br />Relief maps and topographical maps show elevations on Earth’s surface.<br />Most volcanoes are found at plate boundaries where one plate is sliding under another plate.<br />Lava, rocks, and ashes that erupt on land build volcanic mountains.<br />Lava that erupts from the sea floor builds volcanic islands.<br />Weathering wears away land.<br />Erosion moves land from one place to another.<br />ESTEEMS<br />EARTH SCIENCE<br />Pepper Stackhouse<br />Grade 5<br />
Lesson Notes and Resources<br />Standards: 5.1.4 & 8 A, B, C<br />5.3.4 & 8 B, C, D<br />5.8.4 &6 A.1, 2<br />5.8.4&6 C.1, 2<br />5.8.4&6 D.1 <br />Materials: Science A Closer Look, Student Notebook, computers, microphone, clear plastic containers, soil, sand, gravel, Play Dough, LCD projector <br />Technology: http://voicethread.com/share/740072/<br />http://voicethread.com/share/769523/<br /> mrsstackhouse.eboard.com<br />Google Earth, Skype<br />Assessment: Formative, summative, multiple choice, constructed response, note booking, student recordings, performance.<br />Process: Students began a general study of earth science. They learned relevant vocabulary and basic science content as presented in the assigned text, Science A Closer Look, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill. As students studied the processes shaping the earth’s surface, the question, “Where will the next volcanic island in the Hawaiian chain form?” was posed. Students then brainstormed about how they might find the answer to this question.<br />ESTEEMS<br />EARTH SCIENCE<br />Pepper Stackhouse<br />Grade 5<br />
Lesson Notes and Resources<br />Students used their notebooks to record each course of study and step in process. Students suggest computer research, reading of textbook, interviewing a scientist, making models etc. Students interviewed a scientist from Rutgers University using video conferencing technology. Then they were broken into cooperative groups made of members having varied abilities. One group focused on computer research, another text reading, and another worked on making a model. Each group collaborated with the two other groups to create a finished presentation that showed where the next volcanic island will appear.<br />Science concepts that were not assessed in the student project were assessed with standard multiple choice and constructed response paper tests. All students were also assessed using voicethread technology. Although the science content in this unit is 5th grade level some students are reading and writing at a 2nd grade or lower level. Voicethread gives students the opportunity to view graphic representations of science content then explain their understanding of the content verbally.<br />ESTEEMS<br />EARTH SCIENCE<br />Pepper Stackhouse<br />Grade 5<br />
REFLECTION<br />I presented this unit to 5th grade students of varied abilities: English language learners, special needs, grade level students and gifted students. I used a variety of presentation methods, ranging from traditional lecture and text reading to hands-on exploration, and high tech recordings and game play. I also used varied means to allow students to express themselves.<br />While I feel these varied strategies were valuable, struggling students still struggled and exceptional students still excelled. The biggest obstacle, however, was scheduling. Students must be rushed from class to class on a rigid, chaotic schedule that interferes with project based learning.<br />Students seemed to problem solve well, but communicating about the process was difficult. <br />ESTEEMS<br />EARTH SCIENCE<br />Pepper Stackhouse<br />Grade 5<br />
REFLECTION<br />The content presented at the University was completely aligned with the current text approved for my students.<br />Combining the content I learned in the summer courses with the student text, hands-on exploration, and technology helped create a rich science experience for my students.<br />ESTEEMS<br />EARTH SCIENCE<br />Pepper Stackhouse<br />Grade 5<br />
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