Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Explain the importance of including the effects of climate change in environmental policy.
- Explain the effects of warming temperatures to the Gulf of Maine and the ecosystems found there.
- Describe the factors that are contributing to the warming of the Gulf of Maine.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response 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?
- To help students fully understand the text used in this lesson, students should be familiar with the cod species. This site from MarineBio, about the Atlantic Cod, provides general information about the Atlantic cod and its niche (role) in the gulf of Maine ecosystem.
- Students should have basic knowledge of the Gulf Stream and its role in regulating climate for the Atlantic Ocean and coastal communities. This video from PBS NOVA, titled "What Causes the Gulf Stream?", can be shown to the students if there are questions or if they need a review.
- Students should understand the role environmental managers have in regulations and policy making.
With regard 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 be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in this article used in this lesson include title, subtitle, photographs, and captions.
- Based on the rubric provided with this lesson, 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.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
1. Why is it necessary to incorporate the effects of climate change into environmental policy?
The restrictions and quotas set by fishery managers have not had the desired effect on the declining population of cod. As researchers began to look at the effects of climate change on the cod stock, they realized that the warm temperatures of the water are contributing to the decline in cod numbers. The quotas that have been set have not taken into account these changes, and as a result, they have not worked. The ongoing effects of climate change will continue to affect many of the components of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and must be incorporated into new policies.
2. Why is the Gulf of Maine becoming warmer?
The Gulf of Maine is warming due to a combination of factors. The Gulf Stream has changed positions, which has brought warmer water to the area, there have been general changes in the climate patterns found in the Atlantic and Pacific, and there has been a general trend of warming temperatures brought about by climate change.
3. What do scientists believe is the cause of cod's continuing decline?
Scientists believe the rapid decline of cod stock can be directly linked to the warming of the ocean waters found in the Gulf of Maine. After recognizing restrictions and quotas were not helping, researchers realized there must be another factor involved, and they determined it was climate change. The warmer waters are reducing the number of cod produced by spawning females and increasing the mortality rate of younger fish.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by asking the students if anyone knows what cod is. Some students might be familiar with the organism and know it is a fish because they have eaten it or seen it on menus before. At this point, the teacher might want to show a picture of a cod.
2. Explain to the students that cod's geographic range is the Northern Atlantic and that they can be found off the coast of North Carolina up to the waters around Iceland and the North Sea. Then ask students: "What type of environment do you think they thrive in?" Students should be able to say they live in water that have colder temperatures.
3. Next, show the students a map of the Gulf of Maine. Tell the students this area has always been considered one of the main stocks or populations of cod.
4. Tell the students the effects of climate change are changing conditions in the Gulf. Ask the students what they think might be happening. Some students might say the salinity of the water is changing because of ice caps melting, some might say the pH is changing, and others might suggest that the temperature of the water is changing.
5. Let the students know the Gulf of Maine is considered to be one of the fastest warming marine systems on Earth and that this is affecting the ecosystems found there.
6. Finally explain to students they will be reading an article describing what is happening to the Atlantic cod in the Gulf of Maine. The article explains why previous policies in place to help restore the population have been ineffective.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Give each student a copy of the article, or make the text available to students electronically.
2. For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to have students number each paragraph of the article. If viewing the article online, students can use a PDF mark-up tool (several tools are available as free downloads).
3. Provide each student with a note-taking guide. Have students complete this guide during or after their first reading of the article. Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups. Make sure to provide print or online dictionaries for students to use for the vocabulary section.
4. 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.
5. 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, use context clues, and/or use a dictionary to define the words.
6. If students struggle with determining the meaning of the selected academic vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them:
- Sustainable (Paragraph 2): able to be maintained or supported. Have students use context clues within the paragraph. The article states the population is on the verge of collapse and gives very small numbers to describe the levels.
- Climate oscillation (Paragraph 6): a fluctuation in climate events including temperature, sea temperature, amount of precipitation, etc. Have students use a dictionary to find the word oscillate or oscillation. There are several definitions that can be found. Have students plug in the various definitions to see which fits best. Remind them that the word is referencing climate.
- Harvesting (Paragraph 7): to catch or remove for use. Have students use context clues to determine the meaning of this term. The paragraph mentions restrictions and quotas set on the harvesting of cod. Students should be able to determine a general definition from these context clues.
- Rebound (Paragraph 7): to recover from. Have students use context clues to determine the meaning of this term. The paragraph mentions restrictions and quotas set on the harvesting of cod; yet these failed to help. Students should be able to determine a general definition from these context clues.
- Mortality (Paragraph 10): referring to the frequency of death. Have students use a dictionary to determine the meaning of the word. Mention they might want to look up mortal and see if they can determine a connection.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
1. 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?):
- 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 their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use the sample answer key at the end of the text-dependent questions document to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the answer key for the text- dependent questions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before students complete the writing prompt, review the responses to the text-dependent questions completed earlier by the students. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
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. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- How the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph. Go over how this writer opened his or her piece of writing. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- Have students identify where the author makes his/her claim.
- Have students examine each of the body paragraphs and explain how each supports the main point of the piece.
- Have students identify where the writer effectively uses textual evidence from the article to support his/her points.
- Have students identify the use of transition words or phrases that make the ideas flow.
- Have students identify where domain-specific vocabulary is used accurately and effectively (e.g., cod stock, ecosystems, fishery, fishery managers).
- Have students read the final paragraph to see how the writer wrapped up the piece and connected back to the main point established in the introduction.
1. Have students turn in "exit tickets" at the end of the lesson to demonstrate their understanding of the science concepts presented in this article:
- The new science concept I now understand the best is...
- This article made me think in a new way about...
- One new term I learned is...
- I still have questions about...
2. Conduct a class discussion about climate change.
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 it with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
3. Go over the prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address.
Using evidence from the text, write an argument to support the following claim: Due to the changes in the Gulf of Maine and the continued threat to the ecosystems found there, climate change must be incorporated into environmental policy making.
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 conducting Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"