Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: White Nose Syndrome, bats, ecosystem, macroecology, hibernation, endangered species, informational text, 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 why it is important for scientists to track the spread of White Nose Syndrome
- Explain the importance of bats to the ecosystem
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text
- Determine the meaning of academic and domain-specific words in the text
- Construct a written response that contains relevant textual evidence and accurately uses domain-specific vocabulary
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to content knowledge:
- Students should be familiar with White Nose Syndrome. This link provides access to the White Nose Syndrome.org site that provides a variety of information including current research and management plans for the disease.
- Students should have prior knowledge of the general characteristics of bats and their roles within an ecosystem. The Live Science website provides general information on bats and has multiple links students or teachers can use to find out more about the animal.
- Students should be familiar with pathogenic fungus and some of the characteristics of pathogenic fungus. This "Introduction to Fungus" page provides background information on this topic.
- Teachers might want to inform students of the purpose of the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease program. The National Science Foundation site provides information on their partners, funding, goals, etc.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text, including use of context clues, word parts, and dictionary skills.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in the NSF article used in this lesson include a title, subtitle, and headings. The online version of the article also includes pictures and captions.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Why is it important for scientists to understand the biological and ecological impacts of White Nose Syndrome?
The disease has had devastating effects on bat populations in North America and continues to cause bat colonies to decrease in size and number. Because WNS is believed to have been carried over from Europe by people traveling to North America, the impact of introducing pathogens from continent to continent becomes a real possibility. The spread of WNS may change fundamental ecological patterns and could impact bat species long-term, including the possibility of extinction for some species.
- What are the possible consequences to the environment if the bat population continues to decrease?
Bats play a variety of roles within their ecosystem. The article focuses on their roles as insect feeders or insectivores. Many bats have a diet composed of insects and help manage the number of insect pests in their ecosystems. Two favorite meals of the bats are the gypsy moth and the cutworm. Both negatively impact plants and food crops. Without bats, there will be more damage caused by insects.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about bats.
- Have students get into groups and brainstorm for approximately 5 minutes. Have the groups share some of their responses.
- Students might suggest that bats are the only flying mammal, they are known to carry diseases, they are pollinators, etc. Spend some time discussing the different roles bats have in the environment they live in. This becomes important because the article focuses on their role as an insectivore but not on any other benefits they provide for the ecosystem.
- Next show the students the video "Battle for Bats: Surviving White Nose Syndrome." This was made to educate the public about White Nose Syndrome and the actions taken against the disease by various agencies.
- Show the students the interactive map that displays the spread of White Nose Syndrome across the United States and inform students the fungus is rapidly spreading through bat colonies and shows no signs of stopping.
- Inform students that researchers are also interested in European colonies because the bats are not dying in mass numbers from this disease; they appear to tolerate the fungus much better than North American bats.
- Finally, tell students they will be reading an article that goes into more detail about the research conducted on the effects of White Nose Syndrome on the population of bats in six states. The article goes on to explain the scientists' findings and the comparison of bat colonies in Europe and the United States.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Pass out to each student a copy of the article "Hibernation Season Over, will Disease-Ridden Bats Emerge from Caves and Mines this Spring?" 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. Make sure to provide print or online dictionaries for students to use for the vocabulary section. Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups.
- 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 (e.g., context clues, word parts, dictionary skills). 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.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, and possibly grading the work. 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 provided at the end of the note-taking guide to help them assess students' answers.
- 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 give alternative suggestions as to ways that students could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
- The sample answer key provides suggestions for using context clues and word parts to help students determine the meaning of some of the words.
- If students are using a dictionary to define some of the words, encourage them to be extra cautious with words that have multiple definitions. Caution them not to just pick the first definition for the word! They need to examine how the word is used in the context of the text. They might want to determine the part of speech for the word (e.g., noun, verb, adjective) to eliminate definitions that won't apply. Then students should examine the remaining definitions and continually refer back to the word in the text to eliminate the definitions that just don't fit in the context of the text.
Common errors or misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Not all bats hibernate. Many tree-roosting bats will migrate during the winter months.
- Up to this point, the fungus is not known to cause any health concerns in humans but researchers and others in the field use protective clothing when studying the bats.
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 can come in the form of the following:
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work using the sample answer key provided at the end of the text-dependent questions, 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.
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 answer the writing prompt for the summative assessment, review the responses to the text-dependent questions they completed earlier. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
- At the end of the lesson, have students respond in writing to both guiding questions in the form of an exit ticket.
Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They can refer back to the text as they construct their answer. Their response should be an extended response in the form of one to two paragraphs.
- The prompt: Using evidence from the text, briefly explain why the study on WNS in bats in North America and in Europe is important.
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:
- It might benefit students to show them the pictures from the online version of the NSF article.
- Consider showing students pictures of gypsy moths and cutworms, as these are referenced in the article.
- It might be helpful to show students a map of the locations in North America and Europe that were featured in the study.
- Students might benefit from looking at pictures of caves, mine shafts, or old war bunkers to help them visualize the places some bat species hibernate in.
- Have students visit the White Nose Syndrome search page on the CDC website and explore the different links if they don't understand something about the disease.
For struggling readers:
- It might benefit students to break the text into sections (each heading can be the start of a new section). 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 meanings and receive feedback from the teacher.
- Students can then work with a partner or small group to complete the rest of the note-taking guide for section one, share out their responses and receive feedback from the teacher.
- This process can be repeated if needed for the remaining sections of the text.
- ELLs may need help with expressions like "fueled the outbreak," "back across the pond," and "swoop to the rescue."
- Depending on the needs of the students, they might need support with the term "macroecological" or academic vocabulary like mechanisms, distribution, abundance (these were not featured in the note-taking guide).
- The teacher may wish to have students explore other fungal diseases affecting wildlife. This link will allow students to being research on this topic.
- The NSF has an entire series dedicated to the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious disease. Have students get into groups and choose one of the other articles to present to the class.
- On students' note-taking guides, in the "Questions I Still Have" column, if students still have unanswered questions at the end of the lesson, students can research answers to these questions and report their findings.
- As of December 2016, there has been researchdescribing a small population of bats in the United States that may show resistance to the disease. There have also been studies indicating European and Asian bats are most likely resistant to the fungus. There are a variety of resources on the web that can provide more information.
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones
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 Florida 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.