In this lesson plan, students analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses new research conducted by scientists showing the correlation between El Niño events and the spread of waterborne infectious diseases. The article discusses how the scientists believe Vibrio bacteria are being transported across the ocean during El Niño events, and it discusses the impact this can have on public health. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: El Niño, cholera, Vibrio, waterborne pathogen, disease, Peru, text complexity
FCR-STEMLearn Literacy in STEM 2017
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 relationship between El Niño events and the spread of waterborne diseases.
- 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 a 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?
With regards to science:
- Students should be familiar with cholera and other waterborne diseases from the genus Vibrio.
- The following CDC link provides information on various health problems caused by Vibrio species and provides a link to Vibriocholerae.
- Teachers should emphasize to students the different ways a person can be infected by the different types of bacteria.
- Students should understand the changes in weather brought by El Niño and the different effects it has on the areas it impacts.
- The following NOAA site focuses on El Niño.
With regards to literacy:
- 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 the Science Daily article used in this lesson include the title, a photograph, and its caption.
- Based on the provided rubric, 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?
- How does El Niño affect the spread of disease in Latin America?
- El Niño is a weather event that causes unusually warm surface waters off the west coast of South America. As warm waters arrive on the coast, illnesses caused by waterborne bacteria are reported soon after. El Niño is known to occur every 3-7 years, and there is data showing an increase in waterborne pathogens as well as new strains of pathogens during the last three El Niño events.
- How are the waterborne pathogens transported in the ocean currents?
- The bacteria are attaching to larger organisms such as zooplankton, and as the plankton are moved by the current, the bacteria travel with them.
- What are the large-scale implications of pathogens being spread by El Niño events?
- The major concerns regarding El Niño and the spread of pathogens include the introduction of unique pathogens into new areas and the possibility of major outbreaks from these pathogens.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by asking students: "How many of you have heard of the weather event called El Niño?"
- Have students work in groups to brainstorm everything they know about El Niño and record their answers. Have groups share their responses.
- Students are likely to know that El Niño produces severe weather or increased rainfall and can cause a change in temperatures in the areas affected. They have likely heard of El Niño and La Niña together and may be confused by the differences.
- If needed, explain El Niño is a result of warmer than average ocean temperatures while La Niña is a result of colder than average ocean temperatures.
- Show the YouTube video "John Snow and the Cholera Outbreak of 1854 with Mike Jay," uploaded by Wellcome Collection. Explain to the class that cholera is still a problem and that there continue to be outbreaks of this disease every year.
- Ask the students: "What do you think is the relationship between El Niño and cholera?"
- They may guess that El Niño helps cholera spread, that severe weather helps it spread, etc.
- Show the following video "El Niño is Spreading Cholera Through Weather Phenomenon," uploaded by ShanitUniverse. Explain to students that not only is El Niño affecting climate and weather, but there is a concern that infectious diseases are being spread by El Niño events as well.
- Tell students that they are going to read the article "Cholera-like Disease 'Piggybacking' on El Niño to Reach New Shores" by Science Daily, which goes along with the video and further explains why scientists believe the bacteria is traveling from area to area.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Give each student a printed copy of the article or make it available to students electronically.
- For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to have students number each paragraph of the article. If using an electronic copy of the article, students can use a PDF mark-up tool (several tools are available as free downloads).
- Provide each student with a Note-Taking Guide. Have students complete the guide during or after their first reading of the article. Make sure to provide print or online dictionaries for students to use for the vocabulary section.
- Based on the needs and skills of 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, use context clues, and/or use a dictionary to define the words.
- Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups.
- If students struggle with determining the meaning of the academic vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them:
- Concurred (Paragraph 2): To happen together. Encourage students to use context clues. In this case, the clues are contained in the same sentence in which the term is used: "…in both time and place with significant El Niño events." These clues help readers infer the meaning.
- Collaboration (Paragraph 3): Working together with another person or group. There are a few context clues for this word, so students should be able to rely on them to determine the meaning of the word. In paragraph 3, it mentions the long-term study done by both the researchers in the article and the National Institute of Health in Peru.
- Waterborne (Paragraph 3): Carried or transmitted by water. Students should be able to determine the meaning of the word based on the two components:water and borne.
- Bind (Paragraph 8): To take hold to or stick to.Encourage students to use context clues from the entire paragraph. There are several phrases that can help students, including "can attach to larger..." and "they are able to piggyback..."
- Meteorological (Paragraph 9): Dealing with the atmosphere and weather. If students are not familiar with the term or with the science of meteorology, have them use a dictionary to determine the meaning.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their completed note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignments. 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.
- For discussion of 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 errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students often do not realize the seriousness of food poisoning and the bacteria that can cause it. Remind students many of these bacteria are extremely pathogenic and can result in death.
- Although this research has just been released, scientists have been aware of the relationship between severe weather events and disease for a long time. The following link provides access to the World Health Organization on Climate Change and Human Health.
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 student 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 out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
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?
- Before students complete the writing assignment for the summative assessment, review their responses to the text-dependent questions. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
- 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 anLCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- How the writer introduced the topic
- What the main point is (underline)
- How the writer used topic sentences to introduce and connect the paragraphs
- Where text evidence is used
- Where transition words/phrases are used
- How academic vocabulary from the text is used (underline)
- Have students demonstrate their understanding of the science concepts from this article by having them draw three pictures or cartoons that represent the main science ideas from the article.
- Allow time as needed and then collect the assignment. It may graded as an additional assessment.
- 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.
- 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.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address:
- 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?"
Accommodations & Recommendations
For students struggling with the science content:
- Show students a map of the nations that touch the Pacific Ocean so they have context for the locations discussed in the article.
- Review the general characteristics of bacteria with students and discuss how and why they make people sick. The following site from the Human Diseases and Conditions Forum on bacterial infections provides information to be used as needed by teachers.
For struggling readers:
- Have students break the text into sections of 2-3 paragraphs. Have students independently read section one, and then have several strong readers read section one aloud.
- Then, have students highlight (on their copy of the text) the vocabulary from the note-taking guide that appears in section one. Work with students to model ways to define a few of the vocabulary words to get them started. The teacher can think aloud as he or she decides which vocabulary strategy or strategies to use to define a word, and think aloud while deciding which meaning from a dictionary entry with multiple meanings would be the best fit for how the word is used in the context of the article. Then students can work independently to define the meanings of the remaining words for that section. Students can report out their findings and receive feedback from the teacher.
- Depending on the needs and skills of students, the following words were not included in the note-taking guide but might need to be added for students to define: links, pathogen, devastating, and contaminated.
- Then, have students repeat this process for the remaining sections of the text.
- Finally, have students complete the concept organizer on the first page of the note-taking guide, share out their answers, and receive feedback on their work.
For struggling writers:
- It might help students to provide them with an outline to help them structure their written responses for the summative assessment. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Topic sentences (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Have students compare and contrast El Niño and La Niña in more detail. Have students research any risks La Niña poses to public health.
- Have students research cholera outbreaks in other countries due to El Niño events. Students might want to look into studies done on cholera outbreaks in Bangladesh due to El Niño. The following article titled "El Niño Leads to More Problems Than Storms" from ABC News may help them get started.
- Have students research Vibrio vulnificus and have a class discussion of the deaths caused by this bacteria in Florida during the summer of 2015. Discuss the impact of climate change and how it relates to increased risks from waterborne pathogens.
Suggested Technology: Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Ellen Muse
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.