Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Explain how changes to the glaciers in Peru is affecting the availability of natural resources, specifically water.
- Explain how the changes to the glaciers in Peru is impacting Peruvians now and how it will continue to impact them in the future.
- Explain how different groups are working together to minimize the impact of melting glaciers on Peruvians.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use various vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Determine the central ideas of the text.
- Construct a written argument that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to science:
- General familiarity with land use, such as farming.
- Understanding that global warming refers to the heating of Earth's atmosphere. This warming affects life on Earth, including how and where we can grow food.
- Knowledge of what natural resources are, including how they are used and renewed (if possible), will help students better understand the article.
- Understanding the basic geographical features of Peru will help students visualize the flow of runoff water in Peru. Specifically, the varying altitudes in Peru should be pointed out to the students prior to reading the article.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial. In addition, students should have some dictionary skills that will enable them to look up words with multiple meanings and determine the most appropriate meaning based on how a word is used in a text.
- Students should understand the term "central idea" and be able to distinguish central ideas from key details.
- "Central idea" means the same thing as "main idea." The central idea is the author's main point about the topic or topics in a text. The central ideas are the dominant, most important, or chief ideas that emerge from all the ideas presented in a text. Students should be aware that the author can have several main points he or she wants to make about the topic or topics in a piece of writing, and as a result, there can be multiple central ideas in a text, especially in longer more complex pieces.
- Key, or in other words, important, details in a text help an author support and develop his or her central ideas.
- Students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Often students will remember to use transitions at the start of the body paragraphs or conclusion paragraph, but will forget to use them in the midst of paragraphs to connect ideas or to make the content within each paragraph flow. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them. This lists transitions that teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
Main investigation questions: While students are reading and answering questions about the article, please use the questions below to help guide students' thinking.
- What are glaciers?
Glaciers are slowly moving masses of ice formed by the accumulation and compaction of snow on mountains or near the poles.
- What is a tropical region?
Tropical regions are located between 23.5° north of the equator and 23.5° south of the equator. The temperature in tropical regions remains relatively constant and is quite high.
- Where is Peru?
(Showing a map will help with this question). Peru is located on the west coast of South America, about 11° right below the equator.
- How can human activity lead to climate change?
Human activity can negatively impact the environment in several ways. One of the most destructive ways is through the overproduction of emissions. These can damage the ozone layer, allowing more of the Sun's energy to enter our atmosphere.
- What are natural resources and how do glaciers in Peru provide the natural resource water?
Natural resources are resources used by humans that come from nature. Some of these are renewable, while others are not. In Peru, water is a valued natural resource for the residents. In the region that will be described in this article, the tropical glaciers are an important source of water.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by displaying a topographic map of South America using an LCD projector. Alternatively, you can print out copies of the map to provide the students. Ask students to examine the map and locate Peru. Have them discuss with a partner what they think the climate of Peru would be like. As you circulate, inform student pairs that Peru is a country with a wide range of climate features including glaciers. Challenge student pairs to brainstorm how it's possible for glaciers to exist in this county. Finally, lead the class in a whole group discussion about the map. Ensure the discussion includes the following:
- Peru is a country that is not too far south of the equator and is therefore in a warm, tropical region.
- Based on the topographic features shown on the map, students should be able to see that there are high mountains in Peru. It will be much cooler at the top of these mountains than elsewhere in the country. This is why glaciers can exist in a tropical region.
2. Next, have the students look at an image that shows runoff caused by melting snow and ice (here is one possible photo to use). Don't tell students this is spring runoff. Rather, have students independently list 5 observations and 5 inferences about the picture. Review their findings via a whole-group discussion and list some of the students' observations and inferences on the board. They should include:
- There is water is flowing down a hill/mountain.
- Many non-evergreen trees have small bright green leaves on their branches.
- Sunlight is hitting the rocky edges of the hill/mountain.
- The hill/mountain is bordered with many large rocks/boulders with deep crevasses.
- The left side of the photo shows irregular areas of rocky terrain where vegetation is not growing.
- The water appears to have many rapids and seems to be flowing very quickly down the hill/mountain.
- The non-evergreen trees with just-emerging leaves indicate perhaps it is springtime.
- The sunny setting may be partly responsible for the forceful water flow (warmer spring temperatures may have melted the winter's snow/ice).
- The hill/mountain's deep crevasses on the rocks lining the border of the water flow were probably carved over time by a massive force of flowing water (or perhaps even sliding glacier ice melts).
- The areas on the left side of the photo where the vegetation is not growing might indicate melting ice/snow has traveled down the hillside, preventing vegetation from growing. This could be a regular occurrence that has permanently shaped the topography of the region.
3. End the discussion by explaining what global warming is and how it can impact the tropical glaciers in Peru. Guide students to begin thinking about how this would affect the availability of water (a natural resource).
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the article "Your Voice: Peru's Melting Glaciers Teach Community 'to Be Strong in the Face of the Changes'" as well as a copy of the note-taking guide.
2. Direct students to fill out the note-taking guide as they read the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in a small group. The teacher should monitor students as they work, providing support and guidance as needed.
- Note: Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the note-taking guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words. For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge and use a dictionary to define the words.
3. If students struggle with determining the meaning of the selected academic vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them:
- Runoff (Paragraph 2): the draining away of water (or substances carried in it) from the surface of an area of land. The context clues for this term are located in the same sentence. The sentence states: "At that altitude, the river is fed mostly by runoff from the glaciers up on the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca…"
- Hydroelectric Dam (Paragraph 3): a dam through which water runs to produce electricity. There is a clue to the meaning in the same sentence where it states, "The water rushes through a pair of large hydroelectric dams." An additional clue is the word itself. "Hydro-" as a prefix refers to water and "electric" connects the water to electricity.
- Irrigated (Paragraph 3): supplied with water to help plants grow. The context clues for this term as less direct, requiring students to infer the meaning. Paragraph 3 discusses how the running water is beneficial. Additionally, the sentence containing the term mentions asparagus and other crops which rely on water for nourishment.
- Tropical Glaciers (Paragraph 5): glaciers found in a tropical location. To determine the meaning of this term, students need to realize that Peru is a tropical country. This knowledge makes the term easy to understand, though students should consider what details might set tropical glaciers apart from their typical perception of a glacier.
- Highlands (Paragraph 9):an area of high or mountainous land. The containing sentence states, "…organizations are helping people in both the highlands and the lowlands of Peru…" This, coupled with the fact that the article has been discussing the mountainous region of the country, will help students derive that the term references the higher-elevated terrain of the region.
- Collaboration (Paragraph 10): two or more individuals or organizations working together. The context clues for this term are in the last sentence of paragraph 9 where it states, "The two organizations are helping people…" The following sentence (the first in paragraph 10) states, "This collaboration was made possible…" Students may also need to be supported (through discussion, questioning techniques, etc.) in helping them to understand that the prefix "co-" (as in "with" or "together") and the base "labor" (as in "work" or "effort") can also be examined to determine the meaning of the word.
- Indigenous (Paragraph 10): native to a certain country or region. The sentence that contains the term states, "…direct partnerships that USAID has with U.S. private voluntary organizations and indigenous local NGOs." This is the context clue for the term indigenous. Students may need some scaffolded support to make the connection that the indigenous local groups referenced at the end of the sentence are presented in contrast to the U.S. organizations. Local government organizations and officials are mentioned throughout the two paragraphs following this one, which may help students make the connection as well.
- Fertile (Paragraph 13): capable of producing abundant vegetation. The sentence states, "The springs have dried up, water is scarce, and the soil is less fertile." From this sentence and the fact that it states "is less fertile," the term's meaning can be inferred much the same way as with the earlier term, "irrigated."
- Commonwealth (Paragraph 14): legal entities created to achieve higher levels of impact with public investments. This definition is actually included, but not until later in the paragraph. Students should be encouraged to re-read the section from the first reference to ensure they understood this portion of the text.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
3. For discussion on students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common error/misconception to anticipate and how to respond:
- Glaciers cannot be found in tropical areas due to the high temperatures found there.
- Generally, this would be a true statement. Peru, however, is an exception to this due to the fact that the Andes Mountains are found there. The Andes can experience colder temperatures due to the high altitude of the mountains.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use the sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the Guided Practice section.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before students complete the writing prompt, be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
2. After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. Going over how the response is structured, pointing out ways to open and close the piece, showing use of effective transitions, and pointing out places to incorporate the natural use of vocabulary can really help students grow in their own writing skills for future writing tasks. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Have students examine how the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph. (Students sometimes struggle with ideas regarding how to start a written response, and they often want to repeat the prompt back in the first sentence because they are not sure what other options they have. Go over how this writer opened his or her piece of writing. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.)
- Point out how the author outlined the key points of the response throughout the introductory paragraph. Direct the students back to the prompt and show them how the author broke down the prompt into the areas that needed to be addressed.
- Point out the start of paragraph two, how it ties back to the main point, and how it addresses part of the writing prompt.
- Point out how the sample response uses exact quotes from the text to emphasize the author's argument. The paper then goes on to explain how each reference could be made more convincing.
- Show how the paper tries to view the text's arguments through the eyes of doubters. This helps the reader feel as though the author of the response is trying to be fair and balanced.
- In the final paragraph, point out how the concluding sentences support the main point. Brainstorm with students additional ideas about how to wrap up the piece.
- As one final option, teachers might want students to use the rubric to provide a score for the sample written response and have them justify the score they gave, possibly providing revision suggestions for any categories they scored lower than a 4.
Science closure: Have students respond to the following questions using an exit ticket. Review the responses and follow up with a short discussion the next day.
- What science concept related to this article/topic do I understand better now?
- What science concept related to this article/topic do I still have questions about?
- The most important idea from this article is...
1. Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
3. Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt during this review so they will remember to address all the required elements.
The prompt: Throughout the article, the author seems to make the argument that global warming is causing a great deal harm to the Earth, mainly due to the impact it is having on the rate of renewal of glaciers and the water they provide. Give at least three examples from the text where the author makes this argument. For each one, explain how the renewal rate of the glaciers will affect the availability of water and what the author could have done to make her argument more persuasive.
4. Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
- Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
- Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."